Ten top internet consumers in Africa

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 00:00 |

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Internet in Africa is limited by a lower penetration rate when compared to the rest of the world. Measurable parameters such as the number of subscriptions, overall number of hosts, traffic and overall available bandwidth all indicate that Africa is far behind the ‘digital divide’. The good news, however, is that 40 per cent of all Africans have access of some sort to the internet. Herein is a list of the biggest consumers of Internet in Africa;


There were 104.4 million internet users in Nigeria in January 2021. The number of internet users in Nigeria increased by 19 million (+22%) between 2020 and 2021.

Internet penetration in Nigeria stood at 50 per cent in January 2021. According to Independent Research Firm-Statista, however, on average, West Africa’s biggest economy has 154.3 million users.

The country is considered a mobile-first market where infrastructure and online usage development skipped wide-ranging desktop PC adoption and went straight to mobile internet usage via inexpensive smart-phones instead.

With almost three quarters of Nigerian web traffic being generated via smart-phones, Nigeria ranks at the top of the list of African countries based on the share of traffic via mobile.


There were 59.19 million internet users in Egypt in January 2021. The number of internet users in Egypt increased by 4.5 million (+8.1%) between 2020 and 2021.

Internet penetration in Egypt stood at 57.3 per cent in January 2021. At least 78 per cent of Egyptians access the internet via mobile internet services.

Internet usage has been growing rapidly in Egypt throughout the past decade as part of the digital boom.

The number of internet users has almost 6 times higher than what it was in 2010. On average, Egyptians spend 26 hours a week on the internet.


Kenya’s latest data from the Communications Authority shows that the East African country has 46.87 million internet user points.

Mobile penetration grew 11 per cent between January 2020 and January 2021.

However, despite strong mobile money usage and a high mobile penetration rate, only 40 per cent of Kenya’s population is using the Internet in 2021.

It is also clear that the majority of people connecting to the Internet are doing so via a mobile phone, 96.1 per cent to be exact. Device ownership is also an interesting metric.

When it comes to Internet users aged 16 to 64, 99.7 per cent own a smart-phone; 14.4 per cent own a feature phone; about 60 per cent have a laptop or desktop computer; and almost 20 per cent have a tablet.

South Africa

Research shows that South Africa had an average download speed of 29.33Mbps and an average upload speed of 11.24 “megabits per second (Mbps) in 2020.

MTN had the highest average download speed at 52.84Mbps, followed by Vodacom on 29.39Mbps, Telkom on 21.58Mbps, Cell C on 17.46Mbps, and Rain on 11.90Mbps.

There were 36.54 million internet users in South Africa in January 2020. The number of internet users in South Africa increased by 1.1 million (+3.1%) between 2019 and 2020. Internet penetration in South Africa stood at 62 per cent in January 2020.


As of January 2021, Morocco registered approximately 27.62 million internet users, up from the 25.32 million reported in the same month of the preceding year.

With the 1st category being the best and the 5th being the absolute worst, Morocco is in the 4th.

“Ranking a low 58th place for digital life overall, Morocco is among the worst ten countries in the world for the ease of getting high-speed internet access at home.

Eight Internet service providers are located in Morocco. These include Maroc Telecom, Orange Morocco, and Inwi.

To access the internet, the following options are available: 4G, ADSL, Fibre Internet, VSAT, CDMA, and public Wi-Fi.


Algeria has the fourth slowest internet service in the world ranking 174th out of 177 countries surveyed by the Speedtest Global Index, which measures mobile and fixed broadband internet services from around the world on a monthly basis.

Speed test results show an average of 1.53 Mbps download and 2.90 Mbps upload speeds across all mobile, tablet, and desktop devices tested.

As at January 2021, Algeria had 26.35 million internet users with internet penetration in the Maghreb nation standing at 59.6% in the same period. Algeria is home to three mobile phone and data network operators.

The largest of these by subscriptions is Optimum Télécom Algérie, which operates under the brand name of Djezzy and launched its service in 2002.


There were 5.40 million social media users in Tanzania in January 2021. The number of social media users in Tanzania increased by 900,000 (+20%) between 2020 and 2021.

The number of social media users in Tanzania was equivalent to 8.9 per cent of the total population in January 2021.

The average value for Tanzania during that period was 8.24 million subscribers with a minimum of 0 million subscribers in 1960 and a maximum of 47.69 million subscribers in 2019. The latest value from 2019 is 47.69 million subscribers.


As at January 2021, there were 23.96 million internet users in Ethiopia. The number of internet users in Ethiopia increased by 2.8 million (+13%) between 2020 and 2021.

Internet penetration in Ethiopia stood at 20.6 per cent in January 2021. The internet is routinely cut off in Ethiopia due to political differences especially in the volatile Tigray region.

In Ethiopia, the Internet penetration rate is 17.9 per cent as of December 2020, and it is currently attempting a broad expansion of access throughout the country.

However, three-quarters of the country’s Internet cafés are in the capital city, Addis Ababa, and even their access is often slow and unreliable.


Current statistics show that the Pearl nation has a total 18.05 million users. Mobile network operators provide internet services to Ugandans alongside fixed-line internet providers.

There are three main Internet Service Providers in Uganda namely INFOCOM, Kampala-siti-cable and MTN-Uganda.

Roke Telkom which offers Roke Unlimited Plus Package is considerably the most favorable Home Internet Package.

DR Congo

As at January 2021, there was 16.36 million internet users. Internet penetration in the Democratic Republic of Congo stood at 19 per cent during the same period.

The DRC is a vast country with an area of over 2,345,000 km², with infrastructure almost non-existent in many parts.

Mobile telecoms companies such as Orange, Vodacom and Airtel are the main internet service providers (ISPs) in the country.

Although the internet is of paramount importance for the Congolese population, access costs are high, which means that the majority of the poor population cannot access it.

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