Uganda has dropped nine places in a global ranking of digital well-being, with its lowest scores coming in internet affordability, where it is near the bottom and electronic infrastructure.
According to the Digital Quality of Life Index, which ranks121 countries on five measures including electronic security, governance, and internet quality, Uganda came in 107th, ahead of Tanzania and behind Kenya.
The index, released last week, is compiled by the Dutch cybersecurity company Surfshark using data from the United Nations, World Bank, the International Telecommunication Union, and other organisations.
Uganda performed best in e-security out of the index’s five pillars, ranking 81st. It placed 99th in e-government, 108th in internet quality, and 112th in e-infrastructure. And, according to Surfshark, only five of the 121 countries ranked have it worse in terms of internet affordability.
The internet affordability indicator measures how long people have to work to afford a stable internet connection. It is calculated by dividing the cost of a country’s cheapest internet package by the average hourly wage, and then dividing the result by the value of the cheapest global internet package. The product is multiplied by 0.5 to get the factor value.
According to Surfshark, Ugandans have to work 33 hours and 39 minutes to afford fixed broadband internet, which is 33 times longer than in Romania, where broadband internet is most affordable – Romanians only have to work 18 minutes a month to afford it.
For mobile internet, Ugandans have to work four hours and 16 minutes a month, while Luxembourgers only have to work 16 minutes a month to afford it.
France scored the highest on the index. Indeed, nine out of top ten ranked countries were from Europe, with Singapore the exception in tenth place. “Western Europe is a clear leader in the DQLI – it is also the wealthiest sub-region in the world,” Surfshark said. Still, it noted that higher levels of electronic security, infrastructure, and government had stronger correlations with digital well-being than GDP per capita.
“In many nations, digital quality of life has merged into the broader concept of overall quality of life,” Surfshark’s spokesperson, Gabriele Racaityte-Krasauske, said. “There’s no other way to look at it now that so many daily activities, including work, education, and leisure, are done online; that’s why it is crucial to pinpoint the areas in which a nation’s digital quality of life thrives and where attention is needed.”
Mobile internet in Uganda has an average speed of 35Mbps, compared to the fastest speeds of 310Mbps in the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, fixed internet speeds average 20 Mbps, compared to 300 Mbps in Singapore. Yemen has the slowest fixed internet at 11 Mbps, while Venezuela has the world’s slowest mobile internet at just 10 Mbps.
Despite scoring best in electronic security – which “measures how well a country is prepared to counter cybercrime, as well as how advanced a country’s data protection laws are” – Surfshark says Uganda is “unprepared to fight against cybercrime,” and that it has “very low data protection laws.”
Uganda is ranked 14th in Africa, although the report notes that African countries have relatively low scores. This year’s report covered 121 countries – representing 92 per cent of the world’s population, according to Surfshark – up from 117 in 2022.