Radio and ICT in West Africa : Connectivity and Use

Panos West has published the results of a  base-line study of West African radio connectivity to ICTs (internet, satellite, computer, digital storage tools, etc.), analyzing the uses implemented, identifying the constraints and opportunities, and making recommendations to the different stakeholders. The study concentrated on seven countries (Ghana, Benin, Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso & Niger) and considered  public, community, commercial and religious radio stations. Two hundred and twenty radio stations took part in the survey. The main tools of research used were questionnaires, interviews and documentary analysis.

The results reveal that overall the average rate of access to the internet by radio stations in the seven countries studied is 51.8 %, with a large disparity according to the country and type of radio. Indeed, while the rate of connectivity is 72.2% for private commercial radio on the one hand, it is limited to 31.5% for community or non-profit making radio. On the other hand, at a country-wide level, Ghanaian radio has a 93.5% connectivity rate, Senegalese radio 89.7%, whilst only 20% of radio stations in Sierra Leone are connected. In Ghana and Senegal, nearly all commercial radio stations are connected. In addition, 72.7% of Senegalese community radio stations have access to the internet (75% of them have an ADSL line), in contrast to only 8.3% of Nigerien community stations. The rate of connectivity for all radio stations in Burkina Faso, Benin and Mali, is 61.5%, 55% and 34% respectively.

The strong phone penetration on the continent allows stations to use it as an indispensable tool for reporting and communicating with listeners; this has contributed to today’s large number of radio listeners.

The report is available in PDF format in English or French.

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