Number of internet users in Burundi is low, says ARCT

In a workshop held on August 27th, The Burundi Agency of Telecommunication Regulation-ARCT has said very few Burundians use internet.

Hermalas Nahimana: “The penetration rate of internet usage in Burundi is currently inferior to 10%”

“The penetration rate of internet usage in Burundi is currently inferior to 10%,” says Hermalas Nahimana, ARCT Acting Director.
For him, there are several challenges regarding the evolution of internet usage in Burundi.
There are challenges over regulatory texts regarding the evolution of information and communication technology, he adds.

“The digital financial service has not yet improved in Burundi,” he says adding that telecommunication companies benefit from digital services more than the government.
Mr. Nahimana says the government has created a universal service fund that will help the rural population to have access to the internet.

“ARCT plans to organize sensitization sessions on the usage of internet all over the country in collaboration with telecommunication companies,” he says.
“Internet is expensive in Burundi,” says Christian Ntahondi, a participant in the workshop.
He adds that smartphones and computers are too expensive. “Many Burundians cannot afford them the reason why they hardly use internet,” he says.

For him, internet prices should be reduced to increase the number of internet users in Burundi.
“The government should also reduce taxes imposed on smartphones, computers, etc. what can facilitate people to buy them at lower prices,” he also says.
“Telecommunication is part of human rights,” says Pierre Nduwayo, Chairman of the Burundian Association of Consumers-ABUCO.

For him, Telecommunication rights are not guaranteed to 90% of Burundians since around 10% use internet.

He calls on the government of Burundi to intervene in the telecommunication sector.
“The universal service fund should help rural people to buy smartphones or computers so they can have access to internet,” he says.

The workshop was organized to exchange ideas on the transformation of digital regulation in Burundi.