ICT Policy



City Profiles

African visit statistics reflect cable, Linux, Java discrepancies

November 21, 2010  »  StatisticsOne Comment

Density of African visits to by region, 10/09 - 11/10 {Google Analytics}

Now that has received steady traffic for a full year there is enough data to attempt a meaningful look at African web browsing habits. One caveat: the content on this site tends to appeal to a more academic than traditional African audience. Accordingly, the trends for African visits will not necessarily represent the “typical” African web user (not that there is such a user, anyway). Also, some mobile visits were not tracked due to a faulty tracking tag.

  • Just over one quarter of visits came from the African continent (less than 6% of all Internet users are located in Africa)
  • Nearly one-third of African visits come from the cities of Nairobi, Dakar, Kampala, Accra, and Lagos
  • 27% of African visits are from South Africa, followed by 17% from Kenya and 8.5% from Nigeria
  • Trends in the past month generally reflect those of the past year
  • No visitors hail from Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Congo, Central African Republic, or Somalia

Connection Speed:

In particular, how do connection speeds measure up? It appears that Google Analytics has a difficult time determining the connection speed of African visitors. In fact, nearly two-thirds of African visits had an unknown connection speed. More interesting, even in light of the possible error, is that 35% of global visits came via cable or T1 line. Only 7% of visitors located in Africa used a T1 or cable line to access the Internet – and most of these individuals had a T1 connection.

Visitor Connection Speed Africa World
Unknown 63% 40%
DSL 27% 23%
T1 7% 17%
Dialup 3% 2%
Cable 0% 18%
ISDN 0% 0%
OC3 0% 0%

Operating System:

According to this data set, African-based visits are slightly more likely than to come from computers running Windows. The fact that Windows would be the most popular operating system comes at no surprise considering the affordability of PCs. However, it seems surprising that nearly 10% of visits come from a Macicntosh OS. Perhaps these visits are from scholars on the continent? Thirdly, Africa’s share of Linux use is 67% higher than the global share – perhaps a testament to the growing African open source community.

Operating System Africa World
Windows 84.4% 82.4%
Macintosh 9.5% 12.1%
Linux 5.2% 3.1%
Other 1.0% 2.4%


Africans tend to be more progressive in terms of browser use; that is, using non-IE browsers.

Browser Africa World
Firefox 48% 41%
IE 31% 32%
Chrome 15% 16%
Safari 5% 8%


A large portion of the 4.6% of visits to this site with French language set in the browser came from Senegal:

Browser Language Africa World
English 87.5% 83.2%
French 11.2% 4.6%
Other 1.2% 12.2%


Also worth noting is the lack of Java in African browsers. Not sure why this would be.

Java-enabled Africa World
Yes 78.5% 85.2%
No 21.5% 14.8%

Source: Google Analytics, November, 2010