Ethiopia Suffers $1.6 Billion Loss Due to Internet Shutdown

NetBlocks, a renowned organization monitoring international internet services and issuing reports, has recently unveiled its 2023 report.

According to this report, Ethiopia ranks second in terms of income loss after Russia following a significant internet shutdown.

Russia incurred a staggering $4 billion loss in revenue due to disconnecting 113 million citizens from the internet, while Ethiopia, with approximately 30 million citizens affected, faced a substantial loss of $1.6 billion.

The deliberate internet shutdown by the government is believed to have multifaceted motivations, including suppressing protests, restricting freedom of expression, and safeguarding election processes.

Notably, Ethiopia is among the 25 countries worldwide that have implemented such measures, resulting in the blocking of all social networking sites within the country.

The report highlights that in 2023 alone, 747 million citizens worldwide experienced internet service cutoffs due to government interventions.

Notable platforms such as X (formerly known as Twitter) and Instagram have been banned in numerous countries as part of these measures.

While the report does not cover developments in the new calendar year of 2024, it emphasizes that internet restrictions persist in various countries, including Ethiopia.

The state of emergency declared in the Amhara region since July 2023 of the previous year saw concurrent internet service suspensions.

The conflict, which ignited in April 2023 following the federal government’s decision to restructure regional special forces, escalated into full-blown warfare.

Subsequently, the federal government intervened in response to the crisis, leading to the declaration of a state of emergency in the Amhara region for an initial six-month period, later extended by an additional four months.

The prolonged conflict has had devastating consequences, particularly on employment and economic stability.

Thousands of workers have been rendered jobless, exacerbating economic hardships and disrupting their ability to support their families.

Endris Abdu, Head of the Amhara Region Industry and Investment Bureau, reported that over 6,000 workers across more than 1,200 industries have been displaced due to the conflict. Meanwhile, Desalegn Tasew, Head of the Regional Peace and Security Bureau, disclosed that the ongoing war has resulted in the destruction of property valued at over 15 billion birr in the region.

The repercussions of the conflict extend beyond economic devastation, with the education sector bearing a heavy toll.

Mulunesh Desie, the head of the Amhara regional education office, lamented the partial or complete destruction of 298 schools and the displacement of 2.6 million students, with 3,725 schools forced to shutter their doors.


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