The Center for the Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD) reported that the Ethiopian government’s restrictions on internet access have caused significant economic damage to the country. According to the center, the government’s illegal actions have resulted in economic losses exceeding USD 140 million over a period of five months.
The center highlighted that internet access restriction has been a growing issue in Ethiopia since 2018, mainly due to political unrest. They emphasized that this practice is detrimental to the development of democracy and digital technology. Furthermore, the center stated that the government’s ban on major social media platforms in Ethiopia lacks any legal basis.
The restriction of internet services has not received sufficient attention, according to the center, and it infringes upon human rights and freedoms protected by the Constitution. The economic losses incurred due to these restrictions include over USD 140.3 million in total, with USD 27.8 million lost in foreign direct product income. Additionally, 2,372 individuals have become unemployed as a result.
Internet outages not only disrupt modern businesses but also cost the economy millions of dollars and undermine the credibility of elections. The center further emphasized that cutting off internet access in Ethiopia hinders the rights to freedom of expression and access to information. They called upon civil society organizations to challenge the government’s actions in court, as they have no legal basis.
The center also urged the people of Ethiopia to oppose restrictions on social media sites and highlighted their efforts to remove the restrictions on access to information imposed by the government.