Facebook has the bragging rights for being the most popular social network on Planet Earth with well over 1.89 billion users. But as you would expect, the Facebook users are primarily within the world region with affordable high internet speeds and fewer government restrictions.
As far as Africa is concerned, the major stumbling block for users to getting on Facebook is the lack of affordable high-speed internet connectivity. In addition to the high cost of devices such as smartphones and computers; although the influx of cheap devices from China has drastically changed things around.
Nonetheless, Facebook is keen on growing its user base across Africa as demonstrated by the recent establishment of the social network’s offices in Johannesburg.
“Since we first established a direct presence in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015, Facebook has grown from strength to strength. We have enjoyed working closely with entrepreneurs, partners, developers, and small businesses as they have used Facebook as platform for growth. It’s inspiring for us to learn from the continent and to play a role in helping people and organizations connect with the world,” said Nunu Ntshingila, Facebook’s Regional Director for Africa.
Currently, there are over 170 million Facebook active monthly users across Africa; 94% of whom access the social network from a mobile device. 170 million plus, does seem like such a huge number by itself, but when you compare it to the 1.8 billion users Facebook has globally, it suddenly seems small. 170 million vs. 1890 million, which translates to less than 10% of Facebook users living in Africa.
Despite the comparatively low numbers of Facebook users across Africa, the continent also promises one of the biggest growth markets for the social network. With a population of 1.2 billion Africa has a big untapped market for the social network.
Of the 1.2 billion people in Africa, just 27.7% of them have access to the internet; a figure that is far below the 49.6% world average cited by the InternetStats. Facebook is going out of its way to ensure more people across Africa get affordable high-speed internet access. The social network has rolled out Free Basics program, beaming the internet from the skies, and partnering with telecoms to make internet cheaper and faster for users.