After Access 2022: Internet Usage Trends in Uganda

The Ugandan government has recognised the importance of the digital economy with notable efforts made at building on the digitalisation achievements of the country in recent years. However, despite the objectives of the Digital Uganda Vision, a multi-pronged strategy for the country adopted in 2019 to empower its citizens through universal inclusion, economic progress and poverty eradication, digital innovation and digital government services, Internet access in 2022 stood at only 18% – a mere 4% up from 2018. A major concern is the fact that the gap between women and men, and between urban and rural dwellers, has increased. This at a time when demand for the Internet increased across the world as people sought to mitigate the risks associated with COVID-19 and economic fall out of the lockdowns.

The 2022 After Access survey indicates that the main reasons for Ugandans being unable to access the Internet relates to lack of awareness and knowledge of the Internet, and the lack of affordable smart devices. Modelling of the After Access data across all African countries surveyed in the past indicates that the challenges correlate with low levels of education and income. It is for this reason that women, and particularly rural women, are concentrated amongst the most marginalised.

The purpose of the nationally representative demand-side survey is to show how individuals experience digital technologies and the barriers preventing access for the marginalised, to provide policymakers with evidence on the price points of policy interventions to address the multitude of demand side challenges that constrain digital inclusion. In the predominantly mobile markets of Africa, this is the only way to get representative  access and use data to understand the barriers to take up.

This policy brief is the second in a series that draws on the findings of the 2022 After Access survey to provide a deeper understanding of how individuals and householdsinteract with information and communication technology (ICT) and how this interaction impacts on their livelihoods and well-being. Focusing on the Uganda results, the brief provides some aggregate trends in Internet use by individuals and householdsin that country. In addition to comparing data from earlier After Access surveys, the brief discusses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on households’ Internet use. Attention is paid to the gender and urban–rural gaps and barriers to access and use of the Internet. The brief concludes with some high-level policy recommendations.

Suggested citation

Partridge, A. (2023). After Access 2022: Internet usage trends in Uganda. After Access 2022 Policy Brief no. 2/2023. Research ICT Africa.