In 2020, the Internet penetration rate was still only 14% in Chad, according to the telecoms regulator. As the digital economy grows across the world, the government is adopting strong measures to catch up on the digital inclusion of populations.
For the next five years, importers of telephones for wireless cellular networks (mobile phones and smartphones of all types), automatic data processing machines (computers and tablets, fixed and mobile, of all types) and accessories dedicated are exempt from import duties and taxes in Chad. The measure takes effect this Monday, January 24, according to an order published by the Ministry of Finance. It also affects Internet connection devices such as modems, routers and others.
Through this tax exemption, the Chadian government is laying the foundations for greater public participation in the digital economy, which it intends to develop over the next ten years with the digital transformation project currently being developed.
In 2020, Chad was still among the countries on the continent with the lowest population access rate to the Internet. In its 2020 annual report on the telecommunications market, published in July 2021, the Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Posts (ARCEP) reveals that the Internet penetration rate in Chad was 14.2%. That is 2,310,332 Internet users out of 8,696,859 subscribers to telecom services.
In its report “Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2021”, the World Association of Telephone Operators (GSMA) indicates that it is the high cost of mobile devices that is at the origin of the low penetration rate of mobile Internet in Africa, especially in Chad. She explains that of the 1,084 million people counted in the region, 575 million people (53%) live in areas covered by mobile broadband networks but do not yet use mobile Internet for lack of suitable devices. .
The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) revealed in its 2020 report “From luxury to lifeline: Reducing the cost of mobile devices to reach universal internet access. Web Foundation”, that the average price of a smartphone in Africa was $62. Or 62.8% of monthly gross national income per capita. Together with the GSMA, it is campaigning for a reduction in certain taxes that influence the price of mobile devices and affect people’s access to telecom services.
In the report “Digital inclusion and mobile sector taxation in Chad” published in 2017, the GSMA already pointed out to the Chadian government that the reform of taxation relating to mobile has the potential to align investments in infrastructure and the access to mobile services on the ICT-related development goals in the Vision 2030 strategy.