Facebook continues growing rapidly in Africa as the global social network announced more than 15 million monthly active users in Nigeria as of June 30, in a data report released Thursday.
The statistics, first reported by Reuters, also revealed that Facebook has 4.5 million monthly active users in Kenya, and Africa’s total user base is about 120 million monthly active users. Second to Nigeria's market are approximately 12 million monthly active users in South Africa, Reuters reports.
Unsurprisingly, most of these users are accessing the social network via mobile. Out of Kenya’s 4.5 million active users, 95 percent use mobile. That not only aligns with Facebook’s emphasis on mobile products in the United States, but also follows the network's launch of Facebook Lite, a slimmed-down version of its mobile site. Facebook first released the app in June 2015 and tested it in Asian and African markets, including Nigeria and South Africa, TechCrunch reports.
"Mobile is not a trend; it’s the fastest adoption of disruptive technology in history of communication," Nunu Ntshingila, Facebook’s head of Africa, said in a statement to Reuters.
Facebook has been preaching this line for months now. “Mobile is not a trend; it’s the fastest development in communications we’ve ever seen. This couldn’t be more true for Africa – where so many people are mobile-only,” Facebook’s vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Nicola Mendelsohn, said in a statement, following the company’s opening of its Johannesburg office in June.
The mobile market is growing in Africa, with more users switching from basic cell phones to smartphones. Ernest Nti Acheampong, a researcher at African Technology Policy Studies Network, told International Business Times in June, “It’s going to take a while, but eventually the gap will close. [Facebook] should find a niche, carve that nice, build it and make it prosperous.”
Indeed, Facebook has begun to build up the userbase. In September last year, Facebook reported there were 100 million active users in Africa. Now, the network is boasting 120 million.
As to making the market profitable, Facebook Lite may not be able to hold the bandwidth of video ads, but it is not without advertising potential. Facebook told Reuters that the office in Johannesburg will serve as a hub for business.