Facebook FB +1.10%, which recently opened its first office in Africa, says the service is booming on mobile as it confirms that 100% of its monthly users in Nigeria (15 million) and South Africa (12 million) are on mobile phones. Of Kenya’s 4.5 million monthly users, 95% are on mobile. Facebook also says “60% of all Internet users in Africa are active on Facebook”.
Daily users in Kenya number 2.2 million, 7.1 million in Nigeria and 12 million in South Africa, partly reflecting the maturity of the mobile phone market in South Africa but also showing the rapid growth of Nigeria, which is Africa’s most populous country with 150 million citizens.
Facebook now has 120 million active users, as of June 2015, of which 80% (or 96 million) overall use their mobile phones. This is a 20% increase from the numbers it released in September 2014.
Like other tech giants, Facebook is looking to emerging markets for further growth.Facebook’s revenue from outside of the USA is now 52%, said Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), when Facebook opened its first office in Johannesburg’s upmarket Melrose Arch complex in June.
“This is one of the places where our next billion users are coming from,” Mendelsohn said. “It would be a massive missed opportunity. Africa matters.” South Africa was chosen for its “very strong talent hub” and for its reputation for being a “hub to service the continent,” she told me.
Facebook In Africa.
Advertising industry heavyweight Nunu Ntshingila, 51, was named as the first Head of Africa. She was formerly the chair of chairman of ad agency Ogilvy & Mather South Africa, owned by WPP .
“At Facebook, we have a saying that we’re only 1% done, and this couldn’t be truer for Facebook in Africa,” said Ntshingila, in her first comments since taking up the position.” I’m only beginning this journey, and I’m already incredibly inspired by the power of connection — from the smallest moments to fostering global conversations. Everyone on Facebook has a story, and I can’t wait to hear the stories from Kenya and Nigeria firsthand.”
She added: “Mobile is not a trend; it’s the fastest adoption of disruptive technology in history of communication. It’s also an incredibly personal device regardless of where a person lives or how they connect, and businesses need to reach people where they are, not where they were, in an authentic, personal and relevant way. I look forward to spending time with businesses across Africa to understand how we can work together.”
Because Africa had poor landline infrastructure and the cost of desktop computers was to high, its mobile market is the fastest growing in the world, second in size only to Asia, according to the industry body, the GSM Association (GSMA). This has allowed Africa to leapfrog other countries with industrious and ingenious innovations, especially around mobile. Africa, quite proudly, is a mobile-only continent.
Additionally, the World Bank says “Africa is the fastest-growing major area” and “more than half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa,” according to a new report, World Population Prospects The 2015 Revision. “Africa has the highest rate of population growth among major areas, growing at a pace of 2.55% annually in 2010-2015. Consequently, of the additional 2.4bn people projected to be added to the global population between 2015 and 2050, 1.3bn will be added in Africa.”
Africa’s usage mirrors a global trend. Facebook has 1.49 billion monthly active users, as of June 30, 2015, an increase of 13% year-over-year, which it points out is “half of the world’s internet population of 3 billion”. Its mobile monthly active users were 1.31 billion at the same date, an increase of 23% over the previous year.
Ari Kesisoglu, Facebook’s Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa (MEA), said: “We are committed to creating solutions tailored to people and businesses in Africa. We continue to spend time with businesses to learn about how we can work together to create better, more flexible and less fragmented ways for businesses to reach people in Africa.”
Figures for all internet users who are active on Facebook has grown 10% in the two months since the launch in June when Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said: “Half of all African internet users – 120m people – are already on Facebook”.
Identifying young Kenyan fashion entrepreneur Isabell Miano, she added: “They share the spirit of entrepreneurship and optimism that’s driving economic growth and creating opportunities for people across the continent… like Isabell, who runs Fashion254 in Nairobi. She’s 24 years old, and started her business with less than $300 in the bank. She used Facebook and Instagram to connect with her customers and grow her business – and now employs eight people.”
Miano, from Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, said: “If there wasn’t Facebook, I don’t think Fashion 254 would be existing. I started with only $300 in my savings account. Facebook gives me better targeting, it helps me communicate with my clients, get feedback and actually address that feedback”.
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