How top 9 African countries rank on the digital index

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | July 2021 - Banner

It is no secrete that we place a huge premium on the Global Digital Report by We Are Social and its partners.

The Digital Report’s release dates have been in the company calendar for last 4 years now, and we always await the annual issue in early February, and the intermittent quarterly updates in the last 2 years, with anticipation.

A special mention goes to Simon Kemp for the great work he has been doing in publishing the digital consumption trends. As we will show in this report, it takes a lot of work and genius going through the various hordes of data from many independent sources to be able to extract the meaningful trends.

RELATED ENSIGHT:

What we can learn about Africa from the Global Digital Report of 2019

As part of this eNsight, we took lots of time wading through and then analysing the latest digital data for Africa’s top 9 countries that contribute a combined 73% to the continent’s 255 million Facebook users as at the end of December 2020.

Join us as we unpack the findings and insights.

Table of Contents

Briefly: Population, Internet and Facebook stats of the top 9 African countries

The African countries that make up the top 9 on the continent’s Facebook user chart are the following:

#

Top 9 Country

Population (2020)

Contribution to Total Africa Population

Internet Users

Internet Penetration

Facebook Users

Facebook Penetration

1

Egypt

104,258,327

8%

54,741,493

52.5%

48,830,000

47%

2Nigeria211,400,70815%154,301,19573.0 %31,860,00015%
3Algeria44,616,6243%25,428,15957.0 %25,140,00056%
4

South Africa

60,041,9944%34,545,16557.5 %24,600,00041%
5Morocco37,344,7953%25,589,58168.5 %21,730,00058%
6Kenya54,985,6984%46,870,42285.2 %10,444,00019%
7Tunisia11,935,7661%8,170,00068.4 %8,170,00068%
8Ghana31,732,1292%14,767,81846.5 %7,944,00025%
9Ethiopia117,876,2279%21,147,25517.9 %6,745,0006%

TOP 9 TOTAL

674,192,268

49%

385,561,088

57.19%

185,463,000

28%

AFRICA TOTAL

1,373,486,514

100%

590,296,163

43.0 %

255,412,900

19%

WORLD TOTAL

7,875,765,584

100%

5,053,891,122

64.2 %

2,730,439,841

35%

Table 1

Findings

  • 4.9 in every 10 African citizens are found in the top 9 countries.
  • 6.5 in every 10 Africans on the Internet are in the top 9 countries.
  • 5.7 in every 10 people in the top 9 are on the Internet, compared to the continental average of 4.3 in 10.
  • 7.3 in every 10 Africans on Facebook are in the top 9 countries.
  • 2.8 in every 10 people in the top 9 are on Facebook, compared to the continental average of 1.9 in 10.
  • Comparing top 9 and African Internet and Facebook penetration averages to the world averages (see last row in the table above), the extent of the gaps can be clearly determined.

Top 9 African countries on the Geo-Map

Using Facebook users to plot the top 9 African countries on the geo-map, together with the rest of African countries, at least one additional finding is revealed.

eNitiate | Facebook Users | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Geo Map | July 2021
African Geo-Map for Facebook Users 2020: Click on the image for source of data

Additional finding

  • North Africa has the most number of countries in the top 9 by Facebook users. 
Quiz:

Based on the the bubbles that depict relative sizes of Facebook users across the African continent in the geo map above, can you guess which country makes the top 10 cut?

Answer:

See if you can read upside down: ǝɹᴉoʌI,p ǝʇoƆ

You can find the related stats here

The case for African Digital Index

The Digital Report analyses over 70 factors that play a role in the digital performance of a country; from population, literacy, Internet penetration and growth, social media consumption and growth, digital advertising spend to ecommerce.

Great as this spread may be, such a large number of factors can lead to analysis paralysis.

Surely there has to be a more manageable list of factors that are critical for the digital performance of a country?

RELATED ENSIGHT:

Why Nigeria continues to be Facebook’s biggest growth opportunity in Africa

We address this question in the rest of this eNsight.

Introduction of the African Digital Index

Thanks to our data analytics expertise and experience from tracking of and development of the many eNsights inspired by the Digital Report for 4 years now, we developed the African Digital Index for effective analysis of the digital performance of the top 9 countries, or any country of interest on the continent.

We decided that the digital index will have factors with the following key elements:

  • Access to the Internet
  • Social media consumption
  • Digital advertising
  • Ecommerce
  • At least 1 latest digital trend
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Informed by our decision criteria above, we selected 10 factors for the African Digital Index.

Here is a table of the 10 factors, displaying performance by the top 9 countries, such as Internet Penetration of 64.6% for South Africa (ZA) (second row, second column, in Table 2):

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Factors | July 2021---
Table 2

Notes:

  • GREEN cells highlight top 9 countries with highest performance for given factors.
  • RED cells highlight top 9 countries with unavailable data for given factors.
  • Trying to make sense of the overall performance of the 10 factors in Table 2 based on individual results is a challenge. This is the reason why a digital index becomes vital.

A breakdown of the 10 factors

Here is the breakdown of the brief description and individual performance of each of the 10 factors across the top 9 countries:

This factor – our own invention – allocates a score based on the availability of data in a given country across all the 70 or so factors that we analysed, the bulk of which come from the Global Digital Report.

In the case of the top 9 African countries, South Africa and Egypt score the highest for the 100% availability of data across all the factors, while Ethiopia scores the lowest due to unavailability of data for more than 40% of the factors.

Here is how the top 9 countries performed against this factor:

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Facebook Users | Factors | Digital Access Scores | July 2021-

The number of people with Internet access in a country, expressed as a percentage of total population.

Here is how the top 9 countries performed against this factor:

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Facebook Users | Factors | Internet Penetration | July 2021-

Here is how the top 9 countries performed against this factor:

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Facebook Users | Factors | Internet Penetration Growth | July 2021-

The number of unique social media accounts in a country, expressed as a percentage of total population.

Here is how the top 9 countries performed against this factor:

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Facebook Users | Social Media Penetration | July 2021-

Here is how the top 9 countries performed against this factor:

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Facebook Users | Social Media Penetration Growth | July 2021-

The number of Facebook accounts in a country, expressed as a percentage of total population.

Here is how the top 9 countries performed against this factor:

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Facebook Users | Factors | Facebook Penetration | July 2021-

Here is how the top 9 countries performed against this factor:

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Facebook Users | Digital AdSpend | July 2021-

Here is how the top 9 countries performed against this factor:

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Facebook Users | Factors | Ecommerce | July 2021-

Here is how the top 9 countries performed against this factor:

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Facebook Users | Factors | Ecommerce ARPU | July 2021-

 

This is the number of TV streaming accounts, expressed as a percentage of total population.

This factor was included in the Digital Index due to the exponential growth of streaming services on the continent, lead by Netflix.

Here is how the top 9 countries performed against this factor:

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Facebook Users | TV Streaming Penetration | July 2021-

Weighting of the African Digital Index

Backed by expertise and experience, we allocated weightings across the 10 factors that form the African Digital Index as follows: 

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | Factors | July 2021---
Table 3

The weightings in the table above clearly indicate the order of importance we attribute to each of the 10 factors.

Next, we will apply the weightings of the 10 factors across the top 9 African countries, which will allow us to rank their performance on the African Digital Index.

Performance of the top 9 countries on the African digital index

Table 4 presents the results of the digital index scores of the top 9 African countries, based on individual results of the 10 factors found in Table 2 and their associated weightings in Table 3.

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index Factor Scores | July 2021
Table 4

Notes:

  • The ordering of the digital index score columns is from highest (South Africa) to lowest (Ethiopia) top 9 country. 
  • GREEN cells highlight top 9 countries with highest scores for given factors.
  • RED cells highlight top 9 countries with publicly unavailable data for given factors.

Findings:

  • South Africa got the highest digital index score, thanks to the Consumer Goods Ecommerce ARPU (see Table 2).
  • Ethiopia got the lowest digital index score, due to the lacklustre performance in the leading factor – Internet penetration of 20.6% (see Table 2) compared to the top 9 average of 58.8%, coupled with the 4 bottom factors with publicly unavailable data. 

Summary of African Digital Index Scores

Graph 11 displays summary digital index scores for the top 9 African countries

eNitiate | Africa | Top 9 Countries | Digital Index | July 2021
Graph 11

Findings:

  • Despite South Africa having the highest digital index score in the top 9, its performance is still a long way to get to 100.
    Expressed differently, South Africa leads the continent on the African Digital Index, but there is still lots of room for growth across many of the 10 factors.

Key questions about the African Digital Index

Has the African Digital Index been stress-tested for efficacy?

Yes, the weightings have been stress-tested.

Who can use the digital index?

Anyone who is interested in the overall digital performance of an African country can use the index to determine its strength. It is advised that the results be compared to any of the top 9 countries, or average, for richer insights.

Can additional factors be included to the digital index?

Yes. However, common sense must prevail if this itch is felt, so as to avoid the very situation of analysis paralysis that lead to the development of the index in the first place.

Conclusion

We are excited about the outcomes of this African Digital Index development.

We hope that the work that went into this exercise will be worth it for the digital industry in the long run.

We will certainly review the digital  index at least once every year, coinciding with the publications of the Global Digital Report, and publish the updated results accordingly.

We will also use the results of this first digital index as the baseline going forward.

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