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Facebook usage in Africa is doubling every 7 months!

By Wayan Vota on April 29, 2011

facebook-africa.jpg

This is Africa as visualized by Facebook. You could find it depressing if you looked at the world and saw that compared to the USA or Europe, Africa is still “dark”. Or you could take a positive view, like I do, and recognize that Facebook is driving ICT adoption in Africa. But why take my opinion? Let us go for an authoritative source like Russell Southwood’s Balancing Act:

Facebook has become the single biggest non-mail client product in Africa. Over the last seven months user numbers have doubled in many countries and the smaller countries where it was barely visible, now have significant numbers of users. It is the number one or number two site in every African country. But as Christian Hernandez, Head of International Business Development, Facebook told Russell Southwood, this is really only the beginning of what the platform is setting out to do.

Facebook has three objectives for the platform and these cover its development in Africa. Firstly, it wants to acquire more users. Secondly, it wants to monetize this use by attracting advertising: for example, it already has agents in African countries selling its online advertising space to ad agencies and clients. Thirdly, it wants to have developers write more services for the platform. For example, the latter already includes what it calls Social Widgets like the Top articles shared by friends button on CNN.com. It wants African developers and entrepreneurs who will use tools like its social widgets and APIs to create local products and services based on Facebook.

Currently Facebook has 500 million active monthly users, of which half use it from a mobile phone. Its research shows that the latter group of users are twice as engaged in terms of use as the PC users. As Christian Hernandez sees it: “We know mobile is an important tool to drive engagement and in developing countries we start with mobile.”

Now let’s go to the numbers that Russell points to from Facebook and think to yourself, “How can I monetize this usage trajectory?”

Egypt – 6.58 million
South Africa – 3.8 million
Morocco – 3.2 million
Nigeria – 2.9 million
Tunisia – 2.35 million
Algeria – 1.39 million
Kenya – 1.03 million
Ghana – 906,540
Senegal – 447,840
Cameroon – 355,860
Uganda – 280,600
Tanzania – 259,120
Mauritius – 254,680
Angola – 184,660
Madagascar – 151,100
Ethiopia – 146,020
Namibia – 127,260
Zambia – 117,520
Botswana – 112,180
Mozambique – 105,820

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks and is the Digital Health Director at IntraHealth International. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of IntraHealth International or other ICTWorks sponsors.
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4 Comments to “Facebook usage in Africa is doubling every 7 months!”

  1. Gabriel says:

    does anyone know what platform FB is being adopted on? Are people using the facebook 0 platform? mobile browsers or otherwise? Id be interested to know what platforms are driving this increase in adoption.

  2. Wayan Vota says:

    With this explosive growth in usage across Africa, why does Facebook open an office in Sri Lanka? This photo makes me mad. I would expect an office like this in Ghana, not Sri Lanka.

  3. Duke says:

    I could say its primarily because of the 0-platform, at least from my country(Uganda) is point of view…

  4. Anonymous says:

    facebook, has entirely wiped out most african social networks. other continents still have their social networks existing. for africa, all i can see is rise and falls. maybe some government sectors or firms need to grow/nature these talents. i dont like the idea of fb database being in another continent.. check high mortality of african social networks here http://bit.ly/l6Fovt