By the end of 2014 two-thirds of the world’s three billion internet users will come from the developing world, with 20 per cent of Africans having access to the internet, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré said communication technologies have continued to be the key drivers of the information society.

“If we want to understand the information society, we have to measure it,” Brahima Sanou, the director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, said. “Without measurement we cannot track progress or identify gaps which require our attention.”

According to the ITU by the end of the year there will be seven billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, with 78 per cent of those coming from the developing world.

“Globally, mobile-broadband penetration will reach 32 per cent by end 2014; in developed countries, mobile-broadband penetration will reach 84 per cent, a level four times as high as in developing countries,” the ITU said.

“The number of mobile-broadband subscriptions will reach 2.3 billion globally and 55 per cent of all mobile-broadband subscriptions are expected to be in the developing world.”

Currently Africa has a mobile penetration rate of 19 per cent, although 20 per cent of the continent’s population will have access to the internet by the end of the year, increasing 100 per cent from 10 per cent penetration in 2010.

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