Internet Usage in Third World Countries?

After the TechCrunch Silicon Valley elite party, I had some time to unwind and spend the weekend in Seattle area with my family. The first thing I noticed was the crispness of the air, the vibrancy in the lights, and the bustling of the Market area in Seattle.

I had an interesting conversations with some of my cousins, as we talked about social work, helping cultures in needs (third world countries) and how the internet can and cannot help. We talked about blogs, the laptop for every child program, Chinese censorhip, and impoverished nations and cultures.

While I’m certainly pro-web, and have a strong beliefs that the internet will democratize information, unite individuals and cultures and create a global conversation. My cousin stopped me dead of course, as she asked “What about the countries that aren’t online” and are still struggling to get the basic necessities before climbing Maslow’s pyramid.

These stats tell it well, see this diagram of World Internet Usage Stats with a breakdown by region, percent of population of world, and then overall percentage and growth rates.

  • North America is only 5% of the world although 68% is online
  • Asia is 56% of the World 10% is online (but the largest amount of internet users anywhere)
  • Latin America is 8% of the world, but has 14% online
  • Europe is 12% of the world with 36% online.
  • The growth column shows Africa, Middle East, Latin America to explode in internet usage over the last 5 years

Cousin, yes, our discussions and your parting words did in fact impact me, I’ll be giving this more thought over the future.