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Google has revealed computers remain the dominant point of access for internet users in Africa, despite the lack of cable broadband infrastructure. The results, released as part of the internet giant’s Internet Usage tool online, reveals a range of statistics about internet use in Sub-Saharan Africa.

About 31% of users access the internet via computers while 10% access the web exclusively via mobile devices, Google found. In SA, mobile and computer access was equal at 20%, but in Nigeria, 8% accesses the internet on mobile devices versus 32% via computers. The survey revealed that social networking is rapidly making inroads into Africa as it is the most common activity performed online – mainly by women – on the continent with 10% of all users engaging with networking tools, more than e-mail at 9%.

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Unsurprisingly, the survey revealed that older people in Africa have not yet jumped into social networking with only 4% of the 45 – 54-year-old group versus 16% of the 16 – 24-year-old group engaging in social networking. The survey also found that younger users spend more time online – with 17% of those aged between 16 – 24 spending one to two hours online, with declining numbers as age increases.

Men in Africa also spend more time online than women and the survey found that ICT (information and communications technology) still lags in Africa with about 40% in Ghana Senegal and Uganda saying that they are “not comfortable at all” with computers. In terms of content online, 34% were aware of online news and 31% of entertainment, but arts and culture scored lowest at 12%, followed closely by religion at 13%.

The survey also showed that male web users were also more interested and aware of content than their female counterparts. Cost remains a more significant factor in driving internet adoption rather than speed, with 27% of men and 20% of women listing it as a barrier to increased usage.

The survey was conducted by Basis Research in with an urban population of Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Uganda and Senegal over two years.

Source : DUNCAN ALFRED

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