Data & Numbers

Seemingly endless numbers of statistics exist on the subject of African telecommunications. Over the years, governments, ISPs, and consultants have studied a range of metrics in order to gauge the prospects for network development. These numbers can help shape ICT policy, funding, and more. Take caution, however: many statistics are outdated (many by more than 5 years). Most resources on this page are from 2008-present and are sorted by order of date added to the site.

In general, Africa’s Internet penetration rate is often cited by the ITU as 15.3% (June 2012), although this number represents anyone who has used the Internet within the past year. Additionally, this number does not reflect household Internet connections – many Africans access the Internet in public places. Africa’s mobile subscription rate is now over 50% and rapidly growing. However, national and regional differences are substantial. For example, West Africa holds a 30% or so mobile rate and Central Africa is below 20%. North and South Africa raise the continental average.

For oAfrica posts on the subject of statistics, please head over to the stats category archive page.

Regularly Updated Sources:

  1. The Web Index. {World Wide Web Foundation} Multi-dimensional measure of the Web’s growth, utility, and impact on people and nations. It covers 61 developed and developing countries, including 18 in Africa. Data comes from a variety of sources (including ITU, WEF, and World Bank).
  2. Key Global Telecom Indicators for the World Telecommunication Service Sector. {ITU} Mobile & broadband subscription numbers by region, and more.
  3. Kenya Open Data. {opendata.go.ke} This site makes public government data accessible to the people of Kenya. The goal is to improve transparency, unlock social and economic value, and build Government 2.0.
  4. Google Public Data Explorer’s World Bank World Development Indicators. {Google} Of interest for African tech are Internet users over time, and mobile cellular subscriptions (per 100 people) over time, and time to start a business. Also available on the ITU site.
  5. Panafrican Research Agenda ICT Observatory. {observatoiretic.org} A great resource in partnership with UNESCO. Here you can find 180 qualitative and quantitative indicators addressing themes including the use, impact and sustainability of ICTs in African educational institutions on a country level. The search tool is very useful as well.
  6. Africa Internet Usage and Population Statistics. {IWS} The best source for African Internet users/subscribers by country and by percentage of the population. Note the vast difference in number of subscribers vs. users (penetration rate).
  7. AfriNIC IP statistics. {AfriNIC} Trends in registered IP blocks and more. (Also available here)
  8. Research ICT Africa. {Research ICT Africa} Useful data publications (ICT status reports, gender & e-skills assessments) from a group of 20 countries.
  9. Country-wise Total Domains. {webhosting.info} Updated weekly, this list attempts to list and rank the number of ccTLD’s for all applicable nations.
  10. Regulatory Knowledge Centre. {ITU} The ITU mains a list of regulatory statuses for every country, including: level of competition, status of fixed-line operators, and countries with a separate regulator.
  11. Wikipedia Statistics. {Wikipedia} Content, usage, and editors by language. Updated sporadically.
  12. StatCounter Global Stats. {StatCounter} Browser, OS, mobile vs. desktop, and more trends for many global regions including Africa.
  13. AudienceScapes Africa Data Center. {AudienceScapes} Search for survey results from a handful of nations on topics like mobile access, Internet access, and local knowledge of new technologies.
  14. Socialbakers Facebook Statistics by country. {SocialBakers} Global stats for Facebook users and growth, broken out by country/continent and by weekly/monthly time periods. Most African nations are shown.
  15. PingER Average Round Trip Time. {SLAC} Monthly history of data packets across various global servers. Gives a good idea of how African networks are becoming more robust.
  16. Household Data Index. {Ookla} Recent results of SpeedTest.net bandwidth reports from around the globe. Many African nations have data.
  17. Google Insights for Search. {Google} Follow keyword trends from 2008-present by location.
  18. Google Trends for Websites. {Google} Select a country and enter a website to view up to a unique visitor trend (up to 3 years prior).
  19. State of the Internet Report, Akamai. {Akamai} An attempt to measure the average bandwidth and penetration of the continents.
  20. Alexa – Top Sites for Countries. {Alexa} A list of most visited websites for a handful of African nations. Not sure how accurate the data is, but it’s worth a look.
  21. Ranking Web of World Universities – Top Africa. {webometrics.info} Universities have been ranked based on web size, rich files, Google Scholar presence, and link visibility.
  22. Telecommunications Research List of Countries. {Budde} Free high-level summaries of telecoms, broadband, and mobile market research reports. Full reports are expensive.
  23. Jon Hoehler’s yfrog Profile. {yfrog: JonHoehler} South African mobile services professional who often posts data and visuals of African broadband and mobile growth.
  24. Social Media Influence Tracking System. {ZoomSphere} User stats for many countries for Facebook, Twitter, G+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest. Note: This data appears very “loose.” Take these with a grain of salt.
  25. Broadband performance using M-Lab data. {Google Public Data} Download thoroughput for roughly half of Africa from 2010 to present.

2014:

  1. Global Digital Statistics 2014. {We Are Social} Internet stats from ITU and Facebook for Nigeria and South Africa in addition to Africa at large.
  2. Emerging Nations Embrace Internet, Mobile Technology. {Pew Global} Results of a global survey of cell phone ownership and habits include insight on South Africa, Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, and Uganda.
  3. How Africa Tweets. {Portland Comms} Analysis of geo-located tweets from the 20 largest African cities at the end of 2013.
  4. Emerging and Developing Nations Want Freedom on the Internet. {Pew Research} Findings of a survey conducted among 21,000+ people in 24 emerging and developing economies from March 3, 2013 to May 1, 2013.
  5. Open Data Index Visualization. {Information Geographies} Availability of open datasets in a range of sectors for South Africa, Senegal, Nigeeria, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tunisia, Egypt.

2013:

  1. Freedom on the Net 2013. {Freedom House} In-depth analysis of online freedom in 14 African nations – most are considered “partly free.”
  2. The Partnership of Free Speech & Good Governance in Africa. {Afrobarometer} Results of a survey of 51,000 Africans in 34 countries on internet, mobile, and media use.
  3. How do mobile and fixed broadband stack up in SA? {ResearchICTAfrica} Mobile and fixed broadband costs (1GB and 5GB) from a dozen nations as of April 2013.
  4. Global Information Technology Report, 2013. {WEF} Detailed rankings of dozens of ICT pillars for most African nations.
  5. Mobile Opportunities in Africa – Engaging with the Next Billion. {Rudy de Waele} This slideshow presentation analyzes African mobile market penetration. Included are examples of innovative local entrepreneurs, creating new opportunities with mobile across the continent.
  6. Celebrate Digital Africa. {FOSI/GRID} Internet stats and examples of online safety and ICT initiatives taking place throughout Africa.
  7. Microsoft Africa. {Microsoft} The facts, the figures, and the achievement of Microsoft in Africa during the past 20 years.
  8. Women and the Web. {Intel} Concrete data on the Internet gender gap in Egypt and Uganda.
  9. Home Internet Access Still Out of Reach for Many Worldwide. {Gallup} Data from 2011 surveys with at least 1,000 adults in each country find less than 10% home Internet access in most African nations.
  10. The World in 2013: ICT Facts and Figures. {ITU} Features end-2013 estimates for key global and Africa region ICT indicators.
  11. The Mobile Economy 2013. {GSMA} 100-page report on mobile trends that analyzes African growth through 2017.
  12. Open Data for Africa. {African Development Bank} Visualize socio-economic indicators, gain access to graphics, and perform comprehensive analyses on a country and regional level.
  13. Lifting barriers to Internet development in Africa: suggestions for improving connectivity. {ISOC} Dozens of broadband pricing visuals along with comparisons of other African Internet metrics from Analysys Mason.
  14. OpenApps. A market intelligence system that aggregates Internet users behaviour from multiple high traffic sources to support the development of intuitive digital services in Nigeria. {OpenApps}
  15. Why Kenya is the Next Tech Capital: 2013 Sector Trends Online Social Mobile. A variety of key stats and information on Kenyan internet, mobile, social, startup and technology. {Slideshare}
  16. Mondoblog ou l’Afrique connectée. Stats on West African bloggers using the popular Mondoblog platform. {Strikingly}
  17. Ericsson Mobility Report. Mobile, smartphone, LTE, and data traffic trends by region from 2012-2018. A November version can also be found. {Ericsson}
  18. How Africa Uses Facebook. A survey of 1,500 mobile phone users across Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda about their Facebook usage. {infogr.am}
  19. How Africa Access Facebook on Mobile. Stats on users by device for the largest 5 African markets (gathered from Facebook’s ad tool).
  20. The State of Broadband 2013: Universalizing Broadband. Global report with many African data points. {Broadband Commission}
  21. Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2013. Data on mobile contributions to GDP, along with other mobile stats. {GMSA}
  22. Global Internet Phenomena. Downstream internet traffic by category (ie. entertainment, HTTP, etc.) for the Africa region. {Sandvine}
  23. Lions go digital: The Internet’s transformative potential in Africa. Internet GDP numbers for many African nations. {McKinsey}
  24. The Internet in Africa: A Snapshot. Internet usage visuals and a history timeline of African access. {ISOC}
  25. Bridging the Digital Divide. How mobile phones are playing a key role in connecting people in SSA. {Ericsson}
  26. Information Economy Report 2013: The Cloud Economy and Developing Countries. {UNCTAD} Covers implications of cloud adoption for developing countries.
  27. The Affordability Report 2013. {A4AI} A composite index of secondary and primary data examines internet access in 22 African nations and provides recommendations to lower costs.
  28. The Future of Broadband in Africa. {SSRN} A presentation of broadband pricing in select African countries.
  29. United Nations E-Government Development Database. {UN.org} Country level e-gov data from surveys in 2012 and 2010.

2012:

  1. Measuring the Information Society 2012. {ITU} Analysis of ICT use and access in 155 countries (32 from Africa). Includes fixed and mobile broadband data and pricing as well.
  2. Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Observatory 2012. {GSMA} Prepared by Deloitte for the GSMA, this mobile observatory presents the latest statistics and market developments in the region, and can serve as a reference point for participants in the mobile industry, policymakers and other interested stakeholders.
  3. The Transformational Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Africa. {World Bank} The growing contribution of ICTs to Agriculture, Climate Change Adaptation, Education, Financial Services, Government Services and Health is explored.
  4. Nouvelles technologies de communication et nouveaux médias en Afrique Subsaharienne. {Greenwich Consulting} Presented at the Colloque 4M Abidjan, this document thoroughly analyzes telecoms growth in Africa (in French).
  5. International Broadband Pricing Study. {Google} A first of its kind: a master table of fixed and mobile broadband prices for 106 countries. Many are African.
  6. Key statistical highlights: ITU data release June 2012. {ITU} Global mobile broadband, fixed broadband, and general Internet statistics with a handful of African highlights.
  7. Wireless Intelligence: Dashboard, Africa 2012. {Wireless Intelligence} High level mobile stats for the five regions of Africa.
  8. Global Information Technology Report, 2011-2012. {WEF} Analysis and stats across dozens of pillars for most African nations.
  9. Bridging the African Internet. {ISOC} A PDF showing fiber capacity and various broadband cost breakdowns.
  10. Arab Social Media Report. {ASMR} Recurring series that highlights and analyzes usage trends of online social networking across the Arab region.
  11. Mobile Technology in West Africa. {iHub Research} A huge infographic showing Internet and mobile penetration metrics for Nigeria, Ghana, and Ivory Coast.
  12. Global IPv6 Peering and Visuals. {ISOC} Diagrams of how African nations are connected.
  13. The Role Submarine Cables can play in the Interconnection of Africa’s Internet. {ISOC} All sorts of statistics about undersea cables reaching Africa.
  14. The State of Broadband 2012: Achieving Digital Inclusion for All. Global report with many African data points. {Broadband Commission}
  15. Whose Voices? Twitter Citation in Global Voices. {Nate Matias} A visualization that examines the mention of Twitter accounts in Global Voices article text from October 2004 through July 2012.
  16. ICT adoption and prospects in the Arab region. {ITU} 170-page report with country-level analysis of ICT regulation, adoption, and projects.
  17. YouTube Audience Measurement Egypt. {Google} 44% of Egypt’s internet users are using YouTube on a daily basis.
  18. Obstacles and opportunities for the democratization of broadband in Senegal. The 69-page report contains dozens of tables and charts of data costs and availability in West Africa. {Google}
  19. The size of the Net in Southern Africa. {Network Museum} Multiple graphs showing growth over time of the number of Internet users in Southern Africa.
  20. Africa’s technological revolution. {The Guardian} A few frames showing the number of African people online, the number of Internet users in select countries, and undersea cable bandwidth.
  21. Information Economy Report 2012: The Software Industry and Developing Countries. {UNCTAD} A lengthy report highlighting how little developing nations like those in Africa are investing in software development.
  22. Understanding the African digital consumer. {McKinsey&Co.} A report that examines online behavior of urban Africans.
  23. Who Are The Unbanked? {World Bank} Infographic showing mobile money trends for Sub-Saharan Africa.
  24. World Leaders on Twitter. {Digital Daya} Most African heads of state with social media accounts are listed.
  25. Twiplomacy Study 2013. {Twiplomacy}  A thorough look at which African leaders are on Twitter, how conversational they are, and how connected they are.
  26. The insider’s guide to mobile web and marketing in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. Stats, synopses, and a general breakdown of the telecoms industry. {mobiThinking}

2011:

  1. Media and Telecoms Landscape Guides. {infoasaid} Online media information and key statistics for a variety of nations including: Ethiopia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.
  2. Shaping The Future – Realising the potential of informal learning through mobile. {GSMA} More than 1,200 young Ghanaians, Moroccans, Ugandans (and Indians) were surveyed about mLearning.
  3. Insights Africa: Sub-Saharan Africa. {InsightsAfrica} Google co-sponsored survey on Internet usage habits for 6 nations based on 13,000 responses from 2010/2011.
  4. The impact of information and communication technologies in the Middle East and North Africa. {Rand} Research prepared for the World Bank. Contains dozens of data points of North African Internet access.
  5. African Mobile Observatory 2011. {GSMA} Analysis of mobile trends in the 25 African countries that make up 91% of the continent’s mobile subscriptions.
  6. South Africa census results, 2011. {Statistics SA via TechCentral} Official Internet access data from the South African government.
  7. Mobile Hotspots in Africa Q3 11. {Bizcommunity} Mobile ad impressions served by country.
  8. Measuring the Information Society 2011. {ITU} Global and national Internet, mobile, and broadband habits from 2008 and 2010. 157 pages of great analysis and visuals on many African nations.
  9. ICT Facts and Figures 2011. {ITU} Statistics for Africa, developing nations, and specific African nations, including international capacity, 3G service by nation, broadband penetration, and more.
  10. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Income Key to Being Super-Connected. {Gallup} A poll of residents in 17 nations looks at mobile and Internet access trends based on income and education level.
  11. Insights MENA. {insightsmena.com} Explore the media habits of Internet users in Egypt and Morocco. Relies upon 2010 in-person interview data.
  12. Africa’s Telecoms Titans. {TechZim} Bi-weekly series of overviews for major telecoms operators in Africa. Includes statistics, footprint, and company structure.
  13. Broadband: A Platform for Progress. {broadbandcommission.org} Global report on the state of broadband. Includes sections on Africa and general guidelines for developing nations.
  14. mHealth: New horizons for health through mobile technologies. {WHO} Findings of the second survey on eHealth, published by the World Health Organization. Very pertinent to Africa. 112 pages.
  15. Digital Life. {discoverdigitallife.com} Visualization of a digital consumer study. Includes data for much of North and East Africa.
  16. Transforming the East African ICT Sector by Creating a Business Engine for SMEs. {InfoDev} Results of a study of SMEs in East Africa, including tables and analysis.
  17. Africa Broadband Pulse Check. {Afrinnovator} A summary of how broadband continues to permeate Africa. Relies on undersea cable bandwidth maps, SEACOM, and ITU data.
  18. Global Information Technology Report, 2010-2011. {WEF} Analysis and stats across dozens of pillars for most African nations.
  19. Internet usage per capita (Internal Google Data). {Google Africa Blog} This graph representing total Internet usage (not the number of users) is taken from a whitepaper on building Internet capacity in Liberia. Based on traffic through a basket of Google services in 2010. South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana all rank well.
  20. Empirical bandwidth speeds from Accra, Nairobi, and Nigeria. {Flickr: dcmetroblogger} Speed measured in multiple locations in Africa. Updated March 2011.
  21. Dial-up Internet Access in South Africa, 2004-2010. {MyBroadband} An interesting chart (currently a bell-curve) created from World Wide Worx stats shows how dial-up is hanging on in a nation of increasing broadband connections.
  22. Mobile Technology in Kenya. {iHub} Infographic of mobile subscribers, Internet users, and mobile Internet subscriptions.
  23. Web Trends Nigeria Facebook stats. {webtrendsng.com} Lists most popular Nigerian Facebook groups and pages.
  24. Mobile phone usage report 2011. {GSM Arena} A less-than-scientific survey that yielded 15,000 global responses. Africa appears on a few pages.
  25. InMobi Mobile Insights Report. {InMobi} April 2011 mobile market overview of ad impressions and devices.
  26. ICT Infrastructure Across the Continent. {World Bank} A World Bank flier containing various investment and ICT stats.
  27. New Africa broadband ‘ready’. {BBC} Interactive map showing broadband subscriptions and planned/active international cables by year.
  28. Insights into the Mobile Internet in Africa. {SlideShare: jonhoehler} Slide presentation citing a handful of mobile trade publications and data points.
  29. So you still think the internet is free… {yuxiyou.net} The who, what, how, and why of Internet censorship via infographic. Take these with a grain of salt.
  30. Internet in Africa. {Wikipedia} Summary of current situation of Internet access in Africa, including number of hosts, IXP traffic, “regulamentation”, and more.

2010:

  1. EIU Digital Economy Rankings, 2010. {IBM EIU} A handful of African nations are included in these rankings of infrastructure, business environment, social environment, government policy, and consumer/business adoption.
  2. Futures of Technology in Africa. {STT} A 2010 research report published by STT Netherlands that mixes data with prose on the future of African technology over the course of 11 chapters.
  3. Africa’s new submarine cables. {ITU} Summary statistics for African submarine cable systems using 2009 data.
  4. State of the Mobile Web, December 2010. {Opera} Part 4 of this report by Opera lists top African countries using the browser, along with growth trends, web habits, and handsets used.
  5. Community Translation in Africa. {W3} An excellent presentation by Google on efforts to translate the Web. Includes multiple charts.
  6. Population per African blog. {worldtechstartups.wordpress.com} A July 2010 estimate/index of how many blogs exist in specific African nations. Compiled by WorldTechStartups and TechMasai, using stats from Afrigator.
  7. The rise of 3G. {ITU} Global statistics on the status of 2G/3G with growth rates and charts by continent.
  8. The Internet in Africa. {gandalf.it} A wide range of stats and charts up through 2010.
  9. Wireless Intelligence: LTE to account for 4% of world’s mobile connections by 2015. {Wireless Intelligence} Africa is expected to account for 1% of global LTE networks by 2013 due to regulatory challenges.
  10. AdMob Mobile Metrics May 2010. {AdMob} Device share by global region. Nokia models lead in Africa.

2009:

  1. Information Society Statistical Profiles 2009 Africa. {ITU} A 76-page document from the ITU. Very informative with some of the best information available at this time.
  2. Analysis of Country Reports on WSIS Action Lines 1-9. {1-3, 4-6, 7-9} Results of a 2008 ICT survey issued to African nations which asked about policy, e-governance, e-business, public access, security, e-health, and more.
  3. OpenNet Initiative Country Profiles. {ONI} Findings of research into the factors influencing specific countries’ decisions to filter the Internet, as well as the impact, relevance, and efficacy of technical filtering in a broader context of Internet censorship.
  4. Global Information Technology Report, 2008-2009. {WEF} Analysis and stats across dozens of pillars for most African nations.
  5. Costs of Broadband Internet Access. {slac.stanford.edu} The cost of bandwidth in Africa is off the chart compared with more developed nations. 2009.
  6. Minimum RTT for Countries of the World, first half 2009. {slac.stanford.edu} Essentially, a graph of network speeds, by nation, for the world.
  7. Internet Usage in Sub-Saharan Africa, Aug 2009. {gottaquirk.com} Sub-Saharan Internet stats and an outlook for SA.
  8. Facebook Users in Nigeria and Africa, Aug 8, 2009. {webtrendsng.com} Facebook trends and user data for the social network.
  9. “Global Internet Audience Surpasses 1 Billion Visitors, comScore, Jan. 23, 2009. {comScore} Another source of worldwide Internet usage information.
  10. Broadband Quality Score. A global study sponsored by Cisco, Sept 2009. {4G Africa Forum}

2008:

  1. Sub-Saharan Africa – Revised Statistics (2008). {confluence.slac.stanford.edu} Charts galore, mostly from 2007.
  2. NSRC: Connectivity Information by Country. {NSRC} Database of dozens of links and historical network information by country. Hasn’t been updated in a couple of years.
  3. ICT Access & Usage in South Africa. {share4dev.info} Results of a household user survey.
  4. iPhones Without Borders. {hitslink.com} A list of countries using the iPhone (illegally and legally) and the overall web-browsing usage share of the iPhone for the country. No longer updated.
  5. Internet Media Use and Middle Eastern Public Opinion. {CICPO} A study that examined media habits in 19 countries throughout the MENA region.

2007:

  1. Africa, ICT Indictators, 2007. {ITU} Number of telephone lines, mobile subscribers, and Internet users by country. There are 5x as many mobile subscribers as Internet users.
  2. Information and communication infrastructure in Africa and the uptake of eHealth. {SlideShare: ciscogiii} An ITU slide-show from 2007.
  3. Scientific Measure of Africa’s Connectivity. {sdu.ictp.it} Results of a project that measured connection performance from the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center to parts of Africa.
  4. Internet users per 100 inhabitants graph. {Wikipedia} A chart from ITU data, 1997-2007.
  5. 2007 African – Broadband and Internet Markets. {Research and Markets} Summary of a 2007 report on Africa’s digital networks.

2005:

  1. International Internet Statistics. {ITU} International Internet bandwidth data, with a few mentions of Africa.
  2. International Internet bandwidth. {NationMaster} The capacity of international connections between countries for transmitting Internet traffic, as of 2004-5.

2004:

  1. Teledensity and ICT Rankings 1993-2003. {wits.ac.za} A look at the progress of telecommunications, by country.

2003:

  1. ICT in Africa: A Status Report. {share4dev.info} Telecommunications usage in Africa from 1998-2002.

2002:

  1. Nua Internet How Many Online? {nua.ie via web.archive.org} SANGONeT and ITU Internet user stats from 1998-2001. From Web Archive.

2001:

  1. Africa Map of Internet Hosts. {APC via web.archive.org} International Bandwidth and dialup access costs by nation (and more from Mike Jensen). From Web Archive.

2000:

  1. Status of Information and Communication Technologies in Africa, December 2000. {UNECA} Regulatory agencies, mobile networks, and privatization status by nation.

1999:

  1. An overview of the African ICT Sector – 1998/99. {UNECA} A snapshot of how African connectivity stood in 1999. Good as a reference.

Selected Internal Posts:

  1. Official internet statistics from African telecoms regulators
  2. Facebook user growth rates in Africa (June 2010 – December 2011)
  3. African Internet penetration versus urban population Scatter plot of Internet user data and % urban/rural for each African country. Data from 2010.
  4. Household Internet speeds for 25 African countries, cities Results from SpeedTest.net performance tests show consumer bandwidth speeds 1) as of April 2011 2) over time 3) by city 4) by ISP.
  5. African full Internet access timeline A timeline of full Internet access dates for each African country using NSRC reports.
  6. African Leaders on Facebook, July 2012 – Also see similar data from July 2010.
  7. Local content generation for Wikipedia, Google
  8. Timeline: Microsoft in Africa, 1992-Present.
  9. Internet Penetration vs. HDI, 2010. Human Development Index vs. Internet user rates, by country.
  10. Internet Penetration, 2000-2008. Summary of Internet user rates, from Internet World Stats data.
  11. Corruption Perceptions Index vs. Internet Penetration, 2010
  12. Charting the number of African domains by country, 2009
  13. Internet Penetration vs. HDI, 2009. Human Development Index vs. Internet user rates, by country.
  14. World Bank’s Africa Development Indicators, 2008