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Economy

Kenya races ahead of peer economies in Internet use

School children using a laptop computer. Kenya has been named an ‘overachiever’ with regard to Internet use. FILE
School children using a laptop computer. Kenya has been named an ‘overachiever’ with regard to Internet use. FILE 

Kenya has been declared an ‘overachiever’ with regard to Internet use, racing ahead of China in the latest global rankings on access and usage of the Web.

Kenya is the only African nation to feature in a special segment of the The Web Index 2013 Report survey that measures Internet growth and its impact on people.

“On this year’s index, the biggest overachievers, with a web index rank at least 14 places ahead of their rank by per capita income, included the Philippines, New Zealand, Colombia, Korea, Kenya, the UK and Estonia,” says the report.

Overall, Kenya retained its global position for the second year running at 53 out of 81 nations that participated in the survey and fourth on the continent behind South Africa (35), Mauritius (40) and Tunisia (44). Morocco closed the top five at number 54, while China was ranked 57.

ICT hub

Kenya’s neighbours Tanzania and Uganda both slid from their previous rankings with Tanzania at position 59 and Uganda at 65, ahead of Africa’s second largest economy Nigeria that ranked 67 on the index.

The ranking underscores Kenya’s position as an ICT hub on the continent, having attracted several technology behemoths in recent days, including IBM and Microsoft who have set up offices in the capital Nairobi.

South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, is ranked among the world’s top five emerging nations with the highest levels of access to the web, having dislodged Mauritius from the top spot.

Founded last year by Tim Bernes-Lee, the index assesses web use by nations in categories such as universal access, freedom and openness, relevant content and empowerment.

Kenya’s highest score is in the area of empowerment, where it ranks 36, while its lowest is in universal access to the web content at 63.

On the freedom and openness front, the country stood at position 57 and 55 for relevant content. Sweden for the second year emerged top.

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