Published:Oct 3, 2023

Digital democracy|Digital divide

43% of countries are left behind in e-infrastructure

According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 67% of the global population is connected to the internet in 2023¹. This is only a 1% increase compared to last year (66%)², while the previous 2 years each saw 3% growth in internet users. This may suggest that global internet user growth is beginning to stagnate. In this chart of the week, Surfshark takes a look at 121 countries’ e-infrastructure based on the annual Digital Quality of Life Index³. A staggering 52 countries were found to have poor e-infrastructure. If things do not improve, the number of global internet users may stop growing completely.

Key insights

  • 52 out of 121 analyzed countries are classified as countries with poor electronic infrastructure, as they have a lower-than-average e-infrastructure index. Meanwhile, 69 countries enjoy a well-developed electronic infrastructure.
  • To build any kind of infrastructure, investments are needed, but the countries with low e-infrastructure also tend to have very low wealth. Their average GDP per capita ($4.3k) is almost 8 times lower than in countries with good e-infrastructure ($32.6k).
  • 96% of analyzed African countries fall within the “poor e-infrastructure” category. Only 1 of the analyzed African countries — Kenya — has higher-than-average e-infrastructure. Kenya also has a low GDP per capita ($2.1k), proving that wealth of a country is not the only factor driving e-infrastructure development.
  • The majority of European countries enjoy a well-developed electronic infrastructure, while only 13% have a lower-than-average value. These countries are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Moldova, North Macedonia.

Methodology and sources

Drawing on data from Surfshark’s Digital Quality of Life index 2023, we analyzed the electronic infrastructure in countries included in the index according to their wealth and region.

For the complete research material behind this study, visit here.

Data was collected from:

Surfshark (2023). Digital quality of life index.


¹ ITU (2023). Population of global offline continues steady decline to 2.6 billion people in 2023; ² ITU (2022). Two-thirds of the world’s population uses the Internet, but 2.7 billion people remain offline.³ Surfshark (2023) Digital Quality of Life Index.
The team behind this research:About us