BUSINESS TRAMPLED: Demystifying the Impact of Internet Shutdown on Start-up Businesses in Ethiopia

The Center for the Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD) has launched its research report on the impact of the internet shutdown on start-up businesses in Ethiopia in a panel discussion held today on the 4th of October 2022 at the Golden Tulip hotel in Addis Ababa.

The research report titled “BUSINESS TRAMPLED: Demystifying the Impact of Internet Shutdown on Start-up Businesses in Ethiopia” is a part of CARD’s advocacy for improved accessibility of the Internet in Ethiopia. Previously, CARD published a research report on the impact of human rights protection with the title “RIGHTS DEPLUMED: Mapping the Human Rights Impact of Internet Shutdowns in Ethiopia“.

On the panel discussion, Yohannes Eneyew Ayalew, a Ph.D. Candidate at the Faculty of Law, Monash University, Australia, delivered findings of the research he has conducted with the commission provided by CARD. Yared Hailemeskel, an investment consultant, made a presentation on “The Impact of Internet Shutdown on Foreign Direct Investment”, while Kalkidan Mulu, an engineer who is engaged in emerging start-up businesses and founder of Keen Afrique spoke about “The Impact of Internet Shutdown on Business Incubation”.

In Ethiopia, only one out of four people have access to the Internet. Nonetheless, the people connected to the Internet have unreliable connectivity due to repeated partial and complete internet shutdowns. One of the longest complete Internet shutdowns that lasted for several months since the start of the Tigray war with a restoration for a short while in the middle is still going on since November 2020. The Internet shutdown due to the northern war has also expanded to parts of the Amhara and Afar regions after the war expanded to the two regions. In West Oromia and Benishangul Gumuz, where violent conflicts are undergoing, the Internet shutdown has been going on for several months.

In response to the limited connectivity and internet shutdowns, CARD has been running multiple campaigns for improved accessibility and against internet shutdown with hashtags #KeepItOn and #KeepItSafe stressing the need to balance the need for more accessibility and safety online.

This research report has been generously supported by financial support from Access Now, a non-profit organization founded in 2009 with a mission to defend and extend the digital civil rights of people around the world.

Please click here to download the full report or read it below.