Nigeria is the number one country in Africa with the highest amount of users with access to the internet. This is the findings of Internet World Stats after it carried out a research study on connectivity rates in Africa. In a recent study concluded December 2010, Internet world Stats research placed Nigeria as having 45 million internet users, topping all other African countries. Closely following in 2nd to 5th position are: Egypt with 21.7 million, Morocco with 15.7 million, Kenya with 10.6million and South Africa with 6.8 million. World Wide Worx MD, Arthur Goldstuck says South Africa's low Internet connectivity rate, as compared to Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco and Kenya, is as a result of the country's smaller population size of 50 million people. Nigeria, for instance, has a population of over 150 million people, while Egypt has 80 million people he explained.

“It is fair to say South Africa is falling behind, but it is beginning to claw its way back,” says Goldstuck. “In the medium term, we are likely to overtake Morocco, but in the long term will be overtaken by Ethiopia and possibly even the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Though Nigeria’s large population might seem to be the primary factor of her being number one, a close scrutiny would reveal that the percentage of users to the population shared with Egypt and Kenya is proportionate. About 25% of Nigeria’s population are actively connected users of the internet and this figure reflects that Nigerians have taken to technology quite well. Nigeria has an unofficial population of about 160 million people. With a population of 81 million and 41 million respectively, Egypt and Kenya roughly have 25% of its population as internet users also. This percentage is more than what attains with South Africa with a population of 50 million and a number of internet users just a little over 11%. Morocco, with a population of 35 million, is the only country that has the highest percentage of internet users with almost 45%. A high rate of internet users has numerous advantages for a country. These ranges from the way businesses are done to aiding prompt access of information and swift learning.

The report further indicates a striking increase in Africa's total number of Internet users since 2000; there were just 4.5 million connected users in that year compared to 139 875 242 at the end of 2011. The reason for this has been adduced to the “falling international connectivity costs in Africa and the rapid uptake of both smartphones and ordinary phones that allow Web browsing and data applications are two key factors that have driven up Internet usage in Africa”, says Goldstuck.

With the rise in Internet users in Africa however, there has not been a change in the world ranking. Internet World Stats says Africa still has the world's lowest Internet penetration rate at just 13.5%.

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This article was first published on 16th February 2012 and updated on March 22nd, 2012 at 2:27 pm

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