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Online media access in Zimbabwe growing, still geographically divided

November 8, 2012  »  StatisticsNo Comment

Research from the Broadcasting Board of Governors, in conjunction with Gallup, finds word of mouth and radio to still be the main source of dispersing news in Zimbabwe. Still, mobile Internet is quickly becoming more common as a tool to discuss current events. The use of mobile devices is already approaching 100% in urban areas and will soon overtake more traditional formats country-wide. Still, a vast technology divide exists between urban and rural areas.

Media Compution in Zimbabwe

Urban residents are more than 3x likely than rural dwellers to use the Internet at least weekly. Click to enlarge. {BBG/Gallup}

Relating to Zimbabwean Internet habits, the survey finds a profound urban/rural divide.


  • 48% in cities use the Internet at least weekly to read the news – more than double the 20.5% found in 2011
  • 15% in rural areas use the Internet at least weekly to read the news
  • 24% say their phone is a smartphone (40% urban, 16.5% rural)
  • Shona speakers are 67% more likely than Ndebele speakers to access the Internet at least once a week


  • Past-week Internet usage has more than doubled in the past year (is now 22%)
  • 75% of regular Internet users list Facebook as one of their top 3 frequented sites for news
  • 10% own a working computer


  • 90% of regular Internet users access the Web via mobile
  • 25% of mobile users have accessed the Internet
  • 95% of mobile users with Internet access have used social media

Methodology: Data is based on 1,512 face-to-face interviews with adults aged 15 and older living in Zimbabwe. Trained interviewers conducted interviews July 19 – August 6, 2012, in English, Shona and Ndebele. No geographic areas were excluded from the sample.

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