Business

Report: Bahamas internet penetration at 90 percent

The Bahamas is in the top group of Commonwealth countries with more than 90 percent internet penetration, according to a report by the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat on the “State of the Digital Economy in the Commonwealth”.

The report reveals that The Bahamas is beside Canada, Australia and New Zealand for the development of access to internet for its population. It also revealed that more than half of Commonwealth member states fall below the world average.

“On average, Commonwealth countries reached 48 percent internet penetration in 2017,” the report states.

“In Kiribati, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, less than 15 percent of the population are connected to the internet.”

The Bahamas stood at number six on the list of Commonwealth countries in terms of its performance on the mobile connectivity index, which is at 70.3. The top country, Australia, is at 88.4.

This country checks out positively for its legal framework for electronic transactions and electronic signatures; legal framework for data protection and privacy online; legal framework for consumer protection when purchasing online; and its legal framework for cybercrime prevention.

Where the country does not sit so favorably is on the list of countries with high digital exports.

According to the report, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) defines electronic transmission (ET), or exported products for digitalized distribution, as films, printed matter, sounds, media and software and video games.

The report reveals that The Bahamas traded only $9,000 in ET products in 2017, whereas it imported more than $1.5 million worth.

“Based on the most recent available data, annual intra-Commonwealth trade (exports plus imports) in ET products is worth more than US$4.6 billion,” the report states.

“For many Commonwealth countries, exports to other Commonwealth members constitute major shares of their total exports of these products. This was the case for all of Mozambique’s export of ET products in 2017 and more than 90 percent of these products exported by Botswana, Eswatini, Fiji, The Gambia, Kiribati, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Trinidad and Tobago and Zambia in that year (2016 in the case of Kiribati). Likewise, many Commonwealth countries import the bulk of ET products from fellow Commonwealth members.”

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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