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Study outlines internet-access growth in sub-Saharan Africa


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The music industry’s excitement about the potential of countries in sub-Saharan Africa is underpinned by the awareness that internet access – particularly through smartphones – is growing rapidly in those markets.

Now the US-based Pew Research Center has published some new data on that growth in six countries: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania. It notes that the median internet use across the six countries is 41% – and that this is boosted by the 59% of South Africans who are online. But these figures are growing. “Whereas internet use in many of the world’s advanced economies has plateaued in recent years, use in sub-Saharan Africa has notably increased,” explained Pew. “In 2014, 15% of sub-Saharan Africans owned a smartphone, compared with 33% who own one today. The number of people connected to the internet is likely to continue to rise, too; industry projections suggest that the smartphone adoption rate in sub-Saharan Africa will double by 2025.”

There’s a lot more to explore in the study: for example, music and movies is the most popular topic that social-media users in the six countries post about, with a median of 61%, and individual countries ranging from 49% in Senegal to 72% in South Africa.

Stuart Dredge

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