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Survey of 51,000 Africans in 34 countries finds internet use around 18%, mobile 84%

October 18, 2013  »  Mobile & StatisticsOne Comment

A report on media and internet usage was released by Afrobarometer as part of an annual public opinion survey that measures citizens’ attitudes toward various societal issues. The report, titled “The Partnership of Free Speech and Good Governance in Africa,” asked 51,605 people in 34 countries how they access mobile devices and how they receive news information. Moreover, those who use the internet more often consider leaders less trustworthy. Internet users are also found to be more critical of the government – perhaps because these people have higher expectations for their governments after reading international news.

A summary of some interesting findings on mobile and internet habits in 34 countries (~75% of Africa’s population) is below:

  • 84% of Africans at least occasionally use a mobile phone
  • 72% of Africans own a mobile phone
  • Access to mobile phones is greater than 95% in Algeria, Senegal, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire, and Kenya
  • In Madagascar and in Burundi, fewer than 50% of the population has access to a mobile phone
  • In 20 nations, mobile usage rates have increased from 63% in 2008 to 83% in 2013
  • Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe saw the greatest increases between 2008-2013
  • 59% of respondents use mobile phones to send/receive text messages
  • 16% send/receive money (71% in Kenya, 40% in Tanzania)
  • 18% of Africans use the internet at least monthly (34% in North Africa, 9% in West Africa)
  • Morocco has 38% internet use; Mauritius, Sudan, Tunisia 34%; Cape Verde 5%
  • Only 5% access news via the internet in Burundi, Malawi, and Niger
  • 77% of Africans listen to radio news at least a few times every month

North Africans are much more likely to use the internet to access news (32%) than Africans living in other regions (10%-16%):


Most of 20 selected nations have seen significant uptake in mobile phone usage since 2008:


Download the entire PDF by Winnie Mitullah and Paul Kamau (Policy Brief No. 3, “The Partnership of Free Speech & Good Governance in Africa, October 2013) from Afrobarometer.