POWER DOWN SOUTH

Report: Southern Africa Has Africa’s Largest Share Of Netizens

By  |  March 6, 2023

Meltwater, an international online media monitoring firm, has partnered with We Are Social, an equally global socially-led creative agency, to release Digital 2023—the latest annual report that examines digital and social media trends worldwide.

According to the report, internet users across the globe have dialed down their daily internet use to an average of 6 hours 37 minutes daily. It also states that the amount of time the surfers spend on social media has increased to 2½ hours per day. 

In the grand scheme of things, Africa came through with validating yet interesting numbers. For one, South Africa has the continent’s highest count of netizens. 

Internet adoption-wise, Southern Africa secured the top spot with 70.6 percent of its 69 million population using the web. That’s not a shocker since this region’s digital dominance is largely hinged on the performance of South Africa, where at least 80 percent of 59 million people are online. 

North Africa came in second place, with 65.9 percent of its 258 million inhabitants connected. This comes off the back of being most regionally inclusive when it comes to technological advancements. The likes of Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco have bragging rights to some of the continent’s most active internet ecosystems. 

In third place is West Africa. 48 percent of its 429 million people are using the internet. As in the case of Southern Africa, West Africa owes most of its figures to Nigeria—Africa’s biggest economy and most populous country—where it is 35 percent of 200 million. 

Riding on the Kenyan dream, East Africa ranked fourth. 32 percent of the region’s 475 million settlers. Kenya alone has 53 million people, 42 percent of which are internet users. In the continental frame, the country occupies second place, coming after only South Africa. 

Central Africa finished last with 27.9 percent of a 5.4 million populace online. This performance is fairly unsurprising given that the 9-country region is home to the largest cluster of last and vastly underserved frontier markets in not just Africa but across the world. 

When extrapolating Africa’s share of global internet users, Southern Africa has 0.9 percent, East Africa has 2.1 percent, North Africa 3.3 percent, West Africa 4.0 percent and Central Africa 1.1 percent. 

It appears that as internet usage grows gradually in Africa, more of those connecting spend most of their internet time on social media—which makes sense given the yearning for community. There are 5.16 billion internet users in the world today, and 4.76 billion social media users, according to Digital 2023.

State of Social Media for Africa 2023, a separate Meltwater report, 52 percent of respondents said economic unpredictability makes social media a vital communication channel. 

Katherine McInnes, Head of Marketing at Meltwater Africa stated: “The past year has seen massive increases in social media as a marketing tool. Considering the trends we have seen across social media usage and both mobile and computer usage, it’s integral for marketers to use these platforms to increase brand awareness while building trust and credibility online. 

“Delivering impactful and purposeful content using increasingly popular channels such as TikTok and Instagram can make or break your marketing strategies,” she added. 

Featured Image: Educause

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