How SA’s download speeds compare to the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa

  • has released the latest version of its annual report looking at download speeds across the globe.
  • The report finds that Sub-Saharan Africa is the second slowest region in the world.
  • South Africa ranks 104th globally with an average download speed of 36.46Mbps.

As has become a fixture in recent years, has released its latest report looking at broadband download speeds across the globe.

The Worldwide broadband speed league as it has been dubbed, looked at data from roughly 1.3 billion broadband speed tests conducted across 220 countries in order to come up with the latest rankings.

For those in both South Africa and the Sub-Saharan Africa region, it does not make for great reading, and shows just how far most of the countries in this part of the world have to go before faster broadband connectivity can be ubiquitous.

To that end, the Sub-Saharan Africa region ranked second lowest among the 13 different areas that chose to divide the report into. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Western Europe is where download speeds are best, according to the report.

Not great if you live on the African continent.

“30 of the top 50 fastest-performing countries are located in Europe (Eastern, Western and Baltics), with six in Asia (Ex. Near East), six in the Caribbean region, three in South America, three in Northern America, one in the Near East and one in Oceania. By contrast, 32 of the 50 slowest-performing countries are located in Sub-Saharan or Northern Africa, five are in Asia (Ex. Near East), four are in the Near East, three are in the CIS (Former USSR) region, five are in Oceania, and one is in the Caribbean region,” explained in a press release sent to Hypertext.

“48 countries failed to achieve average speeds of 10Mbps or greater, the speed deemed by UK telecoms watchdog Ofcom to be the minimum required to cope with the needs of a typical family or small business. This is down from 67 countries in 2022, and 94 countries in 2021, indicating significant speed improvements are ongoing in many parts of the world,” it added.

Looking a bit more closely at the Sub-Saharan Africa region, South Africa does not even rank first there, and is instead third, with an average download speed of 36.46Mbps.

“47 countries were measured in the second-slowest region Sub-Saharan Africa, which averaged a download speed of 12.11Mbps overall. All but four of the countries found themselves in the slowest half of the league table. Going against the trend somewhat were Réunion (45.51Mbps, 79th), Rwanda (39.89Mbps, 99th), South Africa (36.46Mbps, 104th), and Burkina Faso (35.64Mbps, 108th),” the release continued.

As for what those download speeds actually mean, is perhaps missing a couple of important metrics. In the case of South Africa for example, it would be interesting to see see how the average download speed recorded compares to the average broadband package that a local consumer purchases.

As we know the cost of connectivity is only rising in South Africa, and access to the internet has become more important than ever.

Perhaps the most important element to all of this is whether local ISPs and networks are delivering on what people are paying for? We would need a separate study for that, but we reckon most South Africans would answer in the negative.

For now, while South Africa delivers better download speeds than most other countries on the continent, we are still miles off the pace if we wish for our broadband to be deemed world class, according to the latest findings from

You can read or download the full report for yourself here.

[Image – Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash]


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