Internet usage and penetration in Africa continues to improve however slowly. With a 1.1 billion population which is 16.2 percent of the world’s population, Africa now accounts for 9.3 percent of the entire world’s internet user base while internet penetration on the continent now stands at 28.7 percent.
But seeing as half the world’s internet population is on Facebook, how many of them are African? It is now reported that there are now 146.6 million Facebook users in Africa with the majority of them coming from Nigeria. To know just how much Nigerians love Facebook and its services, a recent survey conducted by Geopoll says three of the most popular apps in Nigeria are Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp which all owned by Facebook and the poll is based on 65 percent of people who responded to the survey.
According to Facebook’s 2016 third quarter earnings report, the social media site had 1.79 billion monthly active users with 1.66 billion of them connecting to the site on mobile. With 146 million users coming from Africa, it means about 8 percent of Facebook accounts are African and this may be why the continent is receiving attention from Facebook in the form of Mark Zuckerberg’s visit and his announcement of partnerships/services across the continent.
But all of this comes as the number of smartphones on the continent is expected to rise above 350 million units this year but as the growth continues, there’s the threat of economic challenges which have worsened even as the US dollar strengthens against major currencies of the world. There’s also a slowly growing middleclass that’s being confronted by a lack of basic infrastructure like power which affects the cost of internet services across the continent.
But if you doubt the improvement in the number of Africans now online, then you might be interested in the two charts below by Internet World Stats. One measurement was carried out over a four year period from June 2012 to June 2016.
Nigeria by population and other advancements in telecom services roll out topped the chart in both years. But take a closer look at the numbers. First things first, Morocco slipped from third to fifth position while Kenya went one step ladder to occupy the third position. Tunisia lost its top 10 positon to Ghana which was not in the top 10 as at 2012 and now occupies the ninth position.
The other thing to look at is that there were 48.4 million connected Nigerians in 2012, that number now stands at 97.2 million in four years. Kenya connected 19.9 million people in the same period to now have 31.9 million connected people. With nearly all the countries on the chart experiencing over 50 percent growth in the number of new connections in the measured time of four years, the region is now one of the fastest growing in the world.
But measuring by population, Kenya seems to be the most impressive on the list and with a population of 47 million in 2016 and 31.9 million internet users in 2016, it’s on track to being one of the best on the continent. But quality matters too, broadband access is still low in Africa with Nigeria seeking to connect 30 percent of its population to broadband services by 2018.
See additional info from World Internet Stats below;
INTERNET USERS AND POPULATION STATISTICS FOR AFRICA
|Total for Africa|
|Rest of World|