Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



Kenya lost Sh4.2bn to Telegram shutdown in 2023

Kenya lost Sh4.2bn to Telegram shutdown in 2023
The logo of Telegram messaging app is seen on a notebook screen in Munich, Germany, Monday, Oct. 17, 2022.   -  
Copyright © africanews
Matthias Schrader/Copyright 2019 The AP. All rights reserved


Telegram, a widely used social media platform in Kenya, faced an unexplained disruption coinciding with the country's crucial college entrance examinations.

Speculations arose regarding the motive behind the outage, with some suggesting a connection to preventing examination malpractice, given that the app remained offline only during the day, returning to normalcy at night when exams were not taking place.

NetBlocks, a London-based internet rights organization, conducted calculations revealing that the eight-day shutdown had a substantial impact on businesses in Kenya, resulting in losses amounting to billions of Kenyan Shillings.

Each day of Telegram's inaccessibility is estimated to have cost businesses and the country a staggering Ksh537 million ($3.4 million) in foregone sales, wages, and economic benefits tied to the application's use.

A study by UK-based internet privacy and security organization, Top10VPN, shed light on the global scale of such disruptions. Kenya's loss during the 192-hour Telegram shutdown ranked as the sixteenth largest among the 25 jurisdictions that experienced internet or social media platform shutdowns in the previous year. The cost to the country amounted to $27 million, impacting 15.6 million people.

The incident in Kenya reflects a growing concern about internet shutdowns across Africa. In 2023, Sub-Saharan Africa faced a substantial financial setback of $1.74 billion during 30,785 hours of internet downtime, affecting a staggering 84.8 million people, as per research by Top10VPN.

Globally, a concerning trend emerged, revealing that 50% of government-initiated internet outages in 2023 were linked to additional human rights abuses, with restrictions on freedom of assembly being the most frequently reported violation.

In the African context, major internet shutdowns were predominantly attributed to military coups and protests within the region. 

As the world grapples with the implications of such disruptions, the incident in Kenya serves as a stark reminder of the broader global trend and its impact on businesses, citizens, and human rights.

View more