Restricting digital media is a gamble for African leaders. On the one hand, many governments are embracing digital media shutdowns, particularly around elections and protests, to limit threats. They argue such moves are necessary to halt “the dissemination of messages inciting hate and division”, as a Chadian government spokesperson put it. But commerce, education and social communication are increasingly online. One analysis found that digital media restrictions cost African economies some $237 million in 2020.