A research commissioned by mobile advertising network, Twinpine has given fresh insight into the unprecedented growth of the African mobile market, revealing that mobile penetration is driving internet usage across West Africa and playing a fundamental role in fuelling economic growth. The study – An analysis of Mobile Technology in West Africa: The Case Of Nigeria, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire was carried out in conjunction with Kenya-based iHub Research   and analysed mobile usage across Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

Mobile penetration in these three countries has been growing at a phenomenal pace over the past five years. The study found that mobile subscriptions in all three countries have more than doubled between 2007 and 2011, with the combined total now standing at over 130 million. The report also revealed that in West Africa, mobile internet use has grown significantly in recent years to reach penetration levels almost equal to fixed line use for the first time. For example, in Nigeria fixed internet usage stands at 28% compared to 26% for mobile internet usage.  While in Ghana fixed internet subscriptions are at 10% and mobile internet at 9%.

Despite the growth in mobile, total internet usage is still below half of the total population in all countries studied. This is a result of the lack of fixed line internet infrastructure within much of Africa, which continues to hinder internet adoption rates. Mobile internet is changing this trend and bringing internet to the masses. Its exponential growth in West Africa in the last three years alone signals a change in how people connect to and enjoy the internet. The research shows that mobile internet penetration will continue to grow at pace in the next 12 months, and as such it is clear from the data that mobile internet use is set to surpass fixed within the next year. A key factor for this is the phenomenal uptake of smart phones by young people who will be accessing the internet and using social networks from these devices. This is reflected by this research finding that the most popular website visited on phones across all three countries is Facebook.

Elo Umeh, CEO Twinpine and Co-chair of the Mobile Marketing Association, West Africa said: “Poor fixed line infrastructure in Africa has acted as a barrier to internet adoption for the majority of people, and is the reason for limited broadband adoption across the continent. However the exponential growth of the mobile market in Africa is playing a critical role in closing the digital divide by giving the African population widespread access to a rich variety of affordable mobile technologies. As the research shows, mobile internet is set to quickly become the primary method of going online.”

The growth of mobile in Africa shows no signs of slowing any time soon. For example the UN’s 2010 World Population Prospects study found that 42.8% of the Nigerian population is under 14. As these users come of age there will be an explosion in mobile usage like no country has seen before. Not only will mobile internet usage increase as a result of this, but it will present local and international brands with a huge new consumer audience to engage with.

Umeh added: “This research highlights a very important point – that now is the time for international brands and publishers to tap into the African mobile boom to maximise the revenue potential of mobile advertising. Already Nigeria, Ghana and the Ivory Coast are achieving high monthly advertising impressions – Nigeria is especially strong with 3 billion impressions a month. However, to ensure brands deliver the most impactful campaigns it is critical they do not approach Africa as a single entity; they must develop a rich understanding of each and every one of the continent’s 54 nations. Working with the local mobile advertising networks like Twinpine will give them instant access to a wealth of local knowledge from the start, greatly reducing time to market.”


Kenneth Omeruo
Omeruo Ndukaku Kenneth is an Innovation Management expert,the CEO of Emerging Media,a new media company.He is a member of ISPIM - International Society for Professional Innovation Management and the US-Africa chamber of Commerce.He is the Founder of TechTrends Nigeria Blog,Nigeria Innovation Summit and the African Innovation Academy.Kenneth is a highly sought-after Internet Marketing Consultant who has through his seminars, articles, training and consulting, helped many organizations, Individuals, Businesses maximize the Internet for business purposes.Kenneth has also being featured as a guest on the TV show TODAY ON STV Nigeria and on Bloomberg Africa TV.He is the author of the best –selling Internet Book: How To Create Unlimited Internet Wealth. He is a syndicated columnist with the following Newspapers in Nigeria: Daily Independent, Financial Standard, PUNCH, BusinessDay, and Sun.Kenneth organises the EduNet Conference for Universities in Nigeria. Kenneth is a member of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria( ISPON ) Roundtable For Capacity Development in Nigeria,member pre-selection committee for Nigeria at the UN World Summit Awards,a Panelist for Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria(YouWIN)-a Federal government initiative created by the ministry of finance,supported by ministries of Communications Technology,Youth Development,Worldbank and DFID. A 2013 Judge at the Google Cloud Developers Challenge for Sub Saharan Africa.He has been a contributing editor of Nigeria Communications Week,Africa Telecom and IT Business Magazine,ICT Today magazine,M2 magazine.Kenneth has been invited to the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Forum, Oracle Open World Conference USA, Oracle Cloud World Dubai, and GITEX Dubai. He now lives in New York with his family and presently working on an Open Innovation project for Nigeria. You can contact Kenneth through email: (kenneth (at)techtrendsng.com) Facebook:www.facebook.com/Kenneth.omeruo On Twitter:www.twitter.com/kennethomeruo Skpe:Kenneth.Omeruo

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