After more than a year since social media was banned and blocked in Chad, people in the country can now access services such as Facebook and Twitter. This comes after President Idriss Deby, speaking a a digital technology conference in the capital city N'Djamena, noted that he had instructed all Internet Service Providers in Chad to lift the social media restrictions that he had told them to implement since March 2018.

The restrictions were implemented following protests during March 2018 after a  conference was held in Chad where one of the resolutions was that the country’s constitution would be amended in order to allow Deby to remain in in his position until 2033.

During the announcement lifting the social media restrictions, Deby is reported to have appealed “to everyone’s sense of responsibility so that these means of communication are an instrument of development and not a source of division.”

Although it could have been argued that the social media restrictions in Chad should have been easy to bypass by using a VPN client, one needs to remember that not every citizen is familiar with what they would consider something too complicated to use such as a VPN. Hence, the social media shutdown persisted for a period of over 12 months and affected the majority of people in Chad.

What is rather concerning is that governments and authorities in Africa can continue to restrict or shutdown the Internet at will knowing that there will be no repercussions or consequences. Something that should have all of us thinking about how better to provision Internet access across Africa and moving it away from political interference.

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