News: Growth of internet users in Africa between 2000 and 2017 is the highest in the world


In Bra Willy’s recent monthly feature on SAFM’s Media Show he shared insights about the growth of Internet users in Africa between the years 2000 and 2017. This blog expands on the topic. The source of the stats is Internet World Stats.

As the Internet stats for the year 2000 show, South Africa was far ahead of the rest of the continent.

Egypt was a distant second. Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania completed the top 5.
Here are the moves in the top five African countries between 2000 and 2017, owing to Internet growth:

– South Africa moved from first spot (in 2000) to fourth spot (in 2017), and was deposed by Nigeria that moved from third spot.
– Kenya moved from fourth to second spot.
– Egypt moved one place lower to third spot.
– Morroco moved up one place to fifth spot.
– Tanzania was pushed out twelve places from fifth to seventeen spot – the biggest top five move from 2000 to 2017.

While reflected growths are phenomenal, this is in part because the top five countries in question came from a very low Internet user base in 2000 (DRC grew from 500 to 3 million users!). In addition, their user numbers are still comparatively lower in 2017. To make the point – the combined number of Internet users of these top five countries comes to 16 million in 2017, while South Africa alone has more than 25 million Internet users!

Nigeria has the largest number of Internet users (= 94 million), but its penetration of 49% puts it at seventh highest in Africa.
Africa’s growth in Internet users between the years 2000 and 2017 is the highest in the world, but its penetration at 28% penetration lags behind the 50% world average.

The 54 African countries have been divided into 5 Regions. Western Africa (16 countries) contributes 34% to the continent’s total of 353 million Internet users, followed by Northern Africa (7 | 27%), Eastern Africa (11 | 21%), Southern Africa (12 | 12%) and Central Africa (8 | 3%).

Southern Africa’s growth has pulled down the continent’s average.
Central Africa’s penetration is 4 times less than the average for Africa.


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