Facebook monthly active users grew by 39% in Africa in 2017

Facebook announced in June that there are now 2 billion monthly active users on this social network site! 

On the back of this announcement, we analyse the performance of the African continent on Facebook in this post.

Table of Contents

Facebook monthly active users in Africa

We analyse Facebook monthly active users in Africa based on two comparative periods: 30 June 2016 and 23 July 2017.

Internet World Stats and Facebook site are the two main sources where we extracted the user stats.

For the two periods under review, Facebook grew from 146 million to 203 million users in a continent of estimated 1.25 billion inhabitants.


African map of Facebook users

We mapped the 2017 Facebook users in Africa on the interactive Google map below.

Mouse over any of the African countries for a popup of the number of monthly active users.

Lowest Facebook users (Sao Tome = 51K)

Highest Facebook users (Egypt = 44 million)

PLEASE NOTE: Sudan’s Facebook users – if there are any (?) – are not available in the 2 data sources we used for this post.


2016 LinkedIn Stats for African Countries

Facebook users: Top 5 African countries

61% of Facebook monthly active users in 2017 come from 5 of the 54 African countries.

– 3 of the countries are in the North – Egypt, Algeria and Morocco;

– One is in the West – Nigeria; and

– One is in the South – South Africa.

– The same countries were in the top 5 in 2016.

– This picture is unlikely to change in the next year, as the African country with 6th highest Facebook users – Tunisia (NOTE: this one is also in North Africa) – has only 8 million subscribers compared to South Africa with 18 million.

#DidYouKnow: 1 in 5 Facebook monthly active users in Africa comes from Egypt #SocialMediaAnalytics

The average growth across the top 5 African countries over the two periods under review is 39%. Growth for the continent also stands at 39% – more than double the growth of Facebook universe at 17%.

Top 5 African Countries on Facebook | 2017

The robust average growth of the top 5 African countries over the two periods under review was lead by the 3 North African countries. Growths by Nigeria – the most populous country on the continent with a population of just under 200 million – and South Africa are below the Top 5 average.

It is also worth noting that Morocco’s Facebook population has caught up with South Africa’s, and yet its [Morocco’s] population is 20 million smaller [than South Africa].

Facebook penetration: Top 5 African countries

As shown in the bar graph below, Facebook’s 2017 penetration for the top 5 African countries averages 30% (16% for the continent).

Let us explain the penetration bar graph above in simpler language – 1 in 2 Egyptians, 3 in 5 Algerians, 1 in 10 Nigerians, 1 in 2 Moroccans and 1 in 3 South Africans are on Facebook.

4 of the countries are above the average top 5 penetration mark. For Nigeria to get to 30% penetration, additional 40 million active Facebook users will need to be added to its base, and this will naturally push the top 5 average even higher – to 39%!

#DidYouKnow: 1 in 5 Africans comes from Nigeria #SocialMediaAnalytics #Facebook

Did we leave anything out of this post?

Yes. We left out age group distribution. Reason? Too much information for one post.

What else would you like to know about Facebook monthly active users in Africa? Leave a comment below, and we might surprise you.


Strength of women's voice on Facebook in africa

Future growth opportunities for Facebook in Africa

The intuition is that Facebook must be focusing attention on North Africa, where runaway growths are experienced (by the way, Tunisia’s growth was 40%). However, Mark Zuckerberg has other ideas. This was signaled by his first-ever visit to the continent in June of 2016 that started in Nigeria, followed by Kenya.


About Facebook F8 Developer Conference 2017

About Facebook quarter two financial performance

As we publish this post, Facebook has just released its quarter two financial report. The key highlight is quarter-on-quarter profit jump by 71%! Read more here.


Listen to the podcast by Bra Willy Seyama (founder of eNitiate) on his regular last-Sunday-of-the-month slot on Ashraf Garda’s [email protected] where he was chatting to Lizette Khan about the growth of Facebook in Africa:

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