Senegal, often hailed as one of Africa’s stable democracies, faced heightened tensions as the government decided to suspend mobile internet temporarily on Monday morning.
This move comes in the wake of the third internet suspension in Senegal within the last nine months.
The government attributed the suspension to the ‘dissemination of several hateful and subversive messages’ circulating on social networks. The decision follows a familiar pattern, mirroring previous shutdowns.
Postponed Presidential Elections and Protests
The political landscape in Senegal experienced further unrest when President Macky Sall announced the postponement of Presidential elections scheduled for February 25, citing a six-month delay.
The decision sparked protests, with citizens expressing their dissatisfaction with the deferred electoral process.
The move, coupled with the internet suspension, has raised concerns about the country’s political stability.
Impact of Internet Shutdowns
The ramifications of the government’s decision to shut down mobile internet across the country are far-reaching.
Tidjane Deme, General Partner at Partech, shared on X, “Senegal’s government has again taken the abusive decision to shut down mobile Internet across the country. The implications are wide-ranging. People underestimate how many things in our daily lives are dependent on mobile internet.”
This suspension underscores the broader issue of internet shutdowns in Africa, which have become a frequent tool for governments to establish control since the 2011 Arab Spring. At least ten countries had internet shutdowns in Africa last year.
Financial Consequences and Regional Trends
According to some estimates, Senegal lost $300,000 per hour due to the June shutdown.
Sub-Saharan African countries lost $1.74 billion to government-induced shutdowns in 2023, according to a report by Top1vpn.
The financial impact, coupled with the disruption to daily life, highlights the challenges faced by citizens in regions where internet access is a crucial part of daily activities.
Conclusion: A Growing Concern
Senegal’s recent internet suspension adds to the growing concerns about political stability and citizens’ access to information.
As the country navigates these challenges, international observers and advocacy groups are closely monitoring the situation, emphasizing the need for transparent governance and respect for democratic principles.