News / Africa

Facebook Has Uncertain Future in Africa

Protesters hold "f"s in recognition of social network site Facebook's role in the North African revolts, during a protest by thousands over civil rights, in Rabat, Morocco,  March 2011.
Protesters hold "f"s in recognition of social network site Facebook's role in the North African revolts, during a protest by thousands over civil rights, in Rabat, Morocco, March 2011.
Gabe Joselow

U.S. media reports say Facebook is set to make an initial public offering of stock that could peg the company's worth as high as $100 billion. While investors have been enticed by the social media company's rapid expansion, its future in Africa is unpredictable.

On the face of it, the numbers in Africa look promising. According to a recent study from the Internet research site oAfrica, the number of Facebook users across the continent increased 165 percent in the past 18 months.

Data from the Internet World Stats website show nearly 38 million Facebook users in Africa at the end of 2011, out of a population of about one billion.

But looking a little closer at the statistics, oAfrica notes that while new users signing on to the site are increasing across Africa as a whole, the numbers are less impressive in the most developed countries.

In Kenya, which has the third-largest number of Facebook users in sub-Saharan Africa, behind South Africa and Nigeria, only 10 percent of the population uses the Internet, and three percent are on Facebook.

The country boasts one of the strongest economies in East Africa, and mobile phone networks that offer Internet access to those in the most remote places.

Alex Maina, a social media consultant and the CEO of the Africa Center for Internet Marketing in Nairobi, said Kenyans initially went on Facebook because their phone services promoted it, but that times are changing.

“So yes, the growth of Facebook, in Kenya especially, is very fast, its extremely fast, but the question is for how long. Africans are naturally conservative even if you want to do a lot of stuff, but naturally you are conservative," he said. "I can not imagine going to put all my pictures on Facebook so that other people can see them. That now has become like the clarion call on Facebook social networking looks like a nice thing, but how come businessmen are moving from Facebook and they're all going to LinkedIn?”

LinkedIn, Badoo, GooglePlus and especially Twitter all are competing social media sites that are giving Facebook a run for its money in Kenya.

A recent report on Twitter usage in Africa found Kenyans were the second-most prolific tweeters on the continent, just behind South Africa.

Maina says most of his clients are seeking more exposure on Twitter, and that from a marketing perspective, it is clearly the way forward.

“The Twitter model is simple, very, very simple, very, very plain. Everybody can understand it and everybody loves it. So for me, that is probably the reason why I really don't consider a very long future for Facebook at the trend that it's going at. It will just plateau very soon,” said Maina.

Facebook's most explosive growth was reported in the least developed countries with the smallest percentages of Internet users, including the Central African Republic, Chad and Somalia.

Africans increasingly are logging in to social networking sites as more undersea cables and high-speed lines hook up previously underserved parts of the continent.

Facebook also served as an important platform for disseminating information during the Arab Spring revolutions in North Africa. The company acknowledged in a report two years ago that countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria were poised to become important markets.


You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid