Internet use soars in Africa

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The number of internet users in Africa passed 139 million by December 31, 2011, an increase of 112% from the same period in 2009, according to research from Internet World Stats.

The report added that by the end of 2011, some 13.5% of the continent’s population was using the internet, a compared to a global average of about 36%. Africa, which is home to a population of more than 1.037 billion people, increased its share of the world’s internet users to 6.2%.

Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco topped the poll in terms of internet users, with 45 million, 21.7 million and 15.7 million users respectively, as of December 21, 2011. Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania followed, with 10.5 million, 6.8 million and 4.9 million internet users respectively.

In terms of internet users per population for mainland Africa, Morocco topped the poll, with 49% of its population using the internet, followed by Tunisia (33.9%), Nigeria (28.3%), and Kenya (25.5%).

But not all countries fared so well. Notable countries with chronically low internet usage rates include Ethiopia, which has a population of 90.7 million people and just 622,000 internet users, representing 0.7% of the population. Similarly, just 1.6% - or 676,000 – of Tanzania’s 42.7 million people are internet users.

Internet World Stats gathers its information from sources including ITU, Nielsen, Gfk and local regulators. Its population figures are based on figures from the US Census Bureau.

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