Connectivity and Network Disruptions in Senegal

The GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, notes with concern the ongoing restriction of mobile internet services taking place in Senegal.

In today’s digital societies, individuals rely on mobile connectivity for their livelihood and to access essential services and information. Restricting access to connectivity has far-reaching implications on people’s health, education, social and economic welfare, and ability to exercise their fundamental human rights.

In Senegal, one of the countries in the region with advanced connectivity, internet access is vital for economic development and digital inclusion. Internet shutdowns affect the wider economy as sectors such as banking are reliant on the Internet to provide service to their customers. Internet shutdowns can also create economic losses in the billions of CFA francs due to business disruption.

The GSMA believes Governments should resort to service restriction orders only in exceptional and pre-defined circumstances, and only if absolutely necessary and proportionate to achieve a specified and legitimate aim consistent with internationally recognised human rights and relevant laws. There should also be due process, oversight and transparency on the use of restriction orders.

Additionally, Governments should always seek to avoid or mitigate the potentially harmful effects of service restriction orders by minimising the number of demands, the geographic scope, the functional scope, the number of potentially affected individuals and businesses and the duration of any restriction.

The GSMA stands ready to constructively engage with the Senegalese Government, authorities and stakeholders to improve the processes and mitigate the adverse impacts of service restriction orders, including during elections or times of uncertainty.