The year in review – our most popular posts

This is the final newsletter for the year, so it’s time to say best wishes for the upcoming new year! The focus of the newsletter this week is a brief summary of our most popular blogs, downloads and policy briefs. I’ll break down what files were downloaded the most and the web pages with the highest visits. 

Our ICT evidence portal was easily the most visited page on our website. The portal is divided into three sections: African country rank, country portal and MNO portal. The African rank page shows the ranking for each country in Africa according to basic metrics along the ICT ecosystem: affordability, infrastructure, MNO KPI’s and the impact of 10% greater broadband penetration. The Country Portal goes into these same indicators in greater detail. The MNO portal is a collation of all the publicly available data on mobile operators on the continent. We’ll keep you posted on new developments on this page that are coming shortly! 

The most viewed blog was on the impact of the OTT tax on Internet users in Uganda. The blog shows that after the implementation of the OTT tax Internet users declined by 15% and OTT tax revenues declined by nearly 30%. The OTT tax was withdrawn in July 2021 after the URA realized that it wasn’t going to meet its revenue targets. 

The most downloaded policy brief was on ICT sector taxes in Uganda. The gist of the policy brief was that the ICT sector should be viewed by policymakers as a tool to supercharge economic growth rather than as a cash cow. The second most downloaded policy brief was on the new business models that are being driven by OTT applications. This policy brief pointed out that policymakers and regulators are far too concerned with protecting outdated business models rather than enabling new, data-driven business models. 

The most downloaded presentation was a review of the Tanzanian SIM card levy that was imposed in June 2021. In the presentation, we assessed the potential impact of the levy and showed that prices will increase and that there will be a marginal increase in taxes. In fact, the increase in taxes is likely outweighed by the compliance costs. The tax, therefore, lacks an economic or regulatory rationale. 

And that’s a wrap! We have a number of new developments in the new year but the one we are most excited about is the revised ICT evidence portal that will include a Tax Impact Calculator. We’ll keep you updated in the new year. Best wishes for 2022.