Africa: Facebook users grow by 165%


BOSTON — With all this hype about Facebook's public stock offering, it seems as if Facebook is dominating the world.

And Africa is part of that amazing growth, as new data shows that Facebook now has a user growth rate of 165 percent in the continent, according to ICTworks.

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The report from oAfrica, which compares the total number of Facebook users to the total populations of African countries, reveals Facebook growth rates for the last 18 months.

Below are some notable numbers from the report.

Facebook user growth in selected countries:

Ghana: 85 percent increase to 1,146,560 users

Kenya: 50 percent increase to 1,298,560 users

South Africa: 51 percent increase to 4,822,820 users

Nigeria: 154 percent increase to 4,369,740 users

Egypt: 130 percent increase to 9,391,580 users

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The report notes that the high Facebook adoption rates in North Africa and South Africa skew the mean. So the median is a more accurate measure to describe the presence of Africa on Facebook.

Facebook adoption in Africa:

165 percent median Facebook user growth since July 2010 (114 percent mean)

2.4 percent median Facebook penetration rate (3.6 percent mean)

There are more than 37 million Facebook users in Africa as of December 2011, as part of the Facebook's worldwide total of 800 million.

Google+, the search engine's social media tool, has 90 million users worldwide and has also seen steady growth with as many as 466,828 people from South Africa making use of its service, reported IT News Africa

"How Africa Tweets," a new report, also discovered that South Africa has the most active Twitter population in Africa. In the last quarter of 2011, South African users tweeted more than 5 million 140-character messages, according to PCMag.

The report also shows that Twitter users in Africa are generally active on multiple social media platforms like Google+ and Facebook.

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ICTworks points out, however, that increasing Facebook adoption in Africa may eventually slow down in more developmentally-advanced countries:

"Even if Facebook user growth rates settle at 25 percent annually, it could be ten years until Kenya boasts 30 percent of the population on Facebook. In 17 months, Kenya’s Facebook user rate has gone from 2 percent to 3 percent. South Africa’s is near 10 percent after increasing from 7 percent. This growth rate of 50 percent over 17 months for Kenya and South Africa — which we deem “mature” — suggests the challenges large nations face providing affordable Internet and connecting rural areas. Plus, even when Internet access is available, not everyone wants to use Facebook."

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