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Uganda Ranks 98th in the World by Digital Quality of Life

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The fourth annual edition of the Digital Quality of Life Index (DQL) reports that Uganda ranks 98th in the world regarding digital wellbeing. That is out of 117 countries, or 92% of the global population.

Out of the five fundamental digital life pillars, Uganda’s worst score is for internet affordability (ranking 116th globally), and the best is for e-security (66th). Uganda’s e-government services come 92nd, while internet quality and e-infrastructure rank 107th and 110th, respectively.

In the face of waging inflation, fixed broadband internet has become less affordable worldwide for the second year in a row, prying the global digital divide even further.

The DQL study is conducted by the cybersecurity company Surfshark. It evaluates countries based on five fundamental digital wellbeing pillars: internet quality, e-government, e-infrastructure, internet affordability, and e-security.

This year, Uganda comes at the lower end of the index, ranking 98th and only making it into the top 100 in the final index. Country ranks 11th in Africa. The country joins the DQL Index for the first time this year. Out of all index pillars, Uganda’s weakest spot is internet affordability, which needs to improve by 27420% to match the best-ranking country’s result (Israel).

Internet quality in Uganda is very weak, and on a global scale mobile internet is better than fixed

Uganda’s internet quality, considering internet speed, stability, and growth, ranks 107th in the world and is 35% worse than the global average. Regarding internet speed alone, Uganda’s mobile internet ranks higher than fixed broadband in the global ranking, operating at 20.6 Mbps/s (104th globally). Meanwhile, the fixed broadband internet comes 108th (16.3 Mbps/s).

Compared to Kenya, Uganda’s mobile internet is 14% slower, while broadband is 16% slower. In comparison, Singapore’s residents enjoyed mobile speeds up to 104 Mbps/s and fixed to as much as 261 Mbps/s – that’s the fastest internet in the world this year.

Internet in Uganda is not affordable compared to global standards, there’s a lot of room for improvement

Uganda’s internet affordability ranks 116th in the world. Residents can buy 1GB of mobile internet in Uganda for 41 minutes 50 seconds of work per month, 6 times more than in Kenya. However, compared to Israel, which has the most affordable mobile internet on the planet (5s per 1GB), Ugandans work 510 times more.                               

Fixed broadband costs Ugandans citizens around 59 hours of their precious working time each month. To afford it, Ugandans have to work 183 times more than Israeli citizens, for whom the most affordable package costs only 19 min of work monthly.            

The global digital divide is now deeper than ever

Globally, broadband is getting less affordable each year. Looking at countries included in last year’s index, people have to work six minutes more to afford broadband internet in 2022. In some countries, such as Ivory Coast and Uganda, people work an average of 2 weeks to earn the cheapest fixed broadband  internet package. The same trend was observed last year. With the current inflation, the pressure on low-income households that need the internet has become even heavier. Surfshark’s study also found that countries with the poorest internet connection have to work for it the longest.

“While countries with a strong digital quality of life tend to be those of advanced economies, our global study found that money doesn’t always buy digital happiness,” – explains Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske, Head of PR at Surfshark. “That is why, for the fourth year in a row, we continue analyzing the Digital Quality of Life to see how different nations keep up with providing the basic digital necessities for their citizens. Most importantly, our research seeks to show the full picture of the global digital divide that millions of people are suffering from.”

The best and the worst countries to live in by the digital quality of life

Overall, 7 out of 10 highest-scoring countries are in Europe, which has been the case for the past three years. Israel ranks 1st in DQL 2022 pushing Denmark to the second place after its two-year lead. Germany ranks 3rd, and France and Sweden round up the top five of the 117 evaluated nations. Congo DR, Yemen, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Cameroon are the bottom five countries.

Regionally, the US stands out in the Americas as a country with the highest digital quality of life. It is possible because there are many factors that contribute to fast and reliable internet connectivity. The ubiquitous presence of telecom towers in the US is one factor that contributes to providing voice and internet services to almost every corner of the country. With the help of a broadband provider or satellite internet provider, it is also relatively easy for an American to install an internet connection compared to other people living in Asian or African countries. Among African countries, people in South Africa enjoy the highest digital life quality. In Oceania, New Zealand takes the lead outperforming Australia in various digital areas this year.

METHODOLOGY

The 2022 DQL research examined more than 7.2 billion people regarding five core pillars and 14 underpinning indicators that provide a comprehensive measure. The study is based on the United Nations open-source information, the World Bank, Freedom House, the International Communications Union, and other sources. This year’s study includes seven (6%) more countries than DQL 2021, most of which are African countries.

The final 2022 Digital Quality of Life report and an interactive country comparison tool can be found here: https://surfshark.com/dql2022

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