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Africa Edition Overview

Africa is home to approximately 1,073,380,9251 people, spread over some 11,608,000 mi2.2  The continent of Africa is the second-largest land mass and has the second highest number of people after Asia.  Internet users as of June, 2012, stood at 167,335,676, or 15.6% of the population.3  The region had 51,612,460 Facebook users as at December, 2012.4

In Q4 of 2012 the total number of mobile subscribers in Africa was approximately 743,437,000 and in Q4 of 2013 the total was approximately 819,030,000, a year-on-year increase of 10.17%.5  This figure includes both contract and pre-paid connections.

A significant organization within the region is AICTO, the Arab Information and Communication Technologies Organization.  Founded in 2001, with its headquarters in Tunis, Tunisia, AICTO works on several fronts to promote common strategies, policies and best practice for ICT development throughout the Arab region, as well as promoting investment in the region.  AICTO’s working group on e-Certification and Cybersecurity (WG3) is working towards launching projects which deal with such topics as e-Government, e-learning and information and computer security.  With a membership of 20 Arab states across the Middle East and Africa, AICTO aims to coordinate members’ positions in terms of standards and the preparation of policies and guidelines which relate to ICT development.

There are five regional initiatives in Africa, including the West Africa Internet Governance Forum (WAIGF), the East Africa Internet Governance Forum (EAIGF), Forum de Gouvernance de l'Internet en Afrique Centrale (FGI-CA), and the Southern Africa Internet Governance Forum (SAIGF). In addition, the African Governance Forum (AfIGF) aims to support and promote regional initiatives across Africa. The 2014 AfIGF is to be held in Abuja, Nigeria, from 10 - 12 July.

The West Africa IGF held its 2014 conference in Banjul, Gambia from August 6 – 8, 2014.  The Central Africa IGF (IGF-CA) met in August, 2013 in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.6 The Southern African IGF (SAIGF) scheduled its 2014 event for 5 - 7 August.7

Part of the larger Microsoft 4Afrika initiative, the 4Afrika Youth project promises young Africans opportunities for education, entrepreneurship and employment through scholarships, internships, fellowships and device programs.8 Microsoft and its partners aim to deliver quality education, certifications and training to promising students and leaders in the scholarship element of the initiative. The primary goal of the internship program is to promote employability by offering work experience to hundreds of qualified graduates every year in Microsoft Africa locations, enabling them to find permanent employment within Microsoft and their partners in Africa.9 Postgraduates can take advantage of the business incubator and turn their ideas into thriving SMEs through the fellowship program.10 After completion, successful SMEs can sign up to the 4Afrika SME portal in participating countries, allowing them to further grow their businesses. Lastly, the device program allows students and faculties enrolled in participating universities to get state-of-the-art devices like tablets, smart phones and laptops at an affordable price or through smart financing via Microsoft partners.11

Another part of Microsoft 4Afrika is Huawei 4Afrika, which saw Microsoft teaming up with Huawei to increase the adoption of smartphones in Africa by introducing a low-cost Windows 8 device, which students and business employees can purchase for US $150.12 The device has been created especially for the African market, with a replaceable battery for those living in areas with a poor power supply, and is equipped with pre-installed apps built in Africa.

Celebrate Digital Africa!To mark Safer Internet Day 2013, FOSI's GRID published its ‘Celebrate Digital Africa!’ infographic fact sheet highlighting key statistics and online safety initiatives. In addition, a number of prominent African experts and influencers have written blog posts about the challenges and opportunities, so giving an authentic voice to those that live and work in Africa; fostering collaboration and sharing best practice in this new digital frontier.

Click here to view the PDF fact sheet

If you have content which you feel should be added to this edition, please click the e-mail icon at the top of the page to notify our Editorial Team.

Effective Measures, Spotlight PR, (2010). Media Consumption and Habits of MENA Internet Users. Whilst not detailing the habits of children specifically, 29% of the 2,500 respondents fall in the fifteen to 20 years age-range. The survey gives details as to the nature of activities undertaken by respondents, with a gender split so that differences between males and females can be noted. To read the research in full click here.

GSMA Development Fund, (2010). Women & Mobile: A Global Opportunity. A study on the mobile phone gender gap in low and middle-income countries. This report identifies the gender gap for mobile phone ownership in such countries, the benefits that can be achieved by changing attitudes and makes recommendations as to next steps. To read the report in full click here



Page last reviewed August 26, 2014

1 (last accessed June 9, 2014)
2 (last accessed April 15, 2013)
3 (last accessed June 9, 2014)
4 (last accessed June 9, 2014)
5 (last accessed August 21, 2014)
6 (last accessed June 10, 2014)
7 (last accessed June 10, 2014)
8 (last accessed June 10, 2014)
9 (last accessed June 10, 2014)
10 (last accessed June 10,2014)
11 (last accessed June 10, 2014)
12 (last accessed June 10, 2014)



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