African youths are clinging to smartphones

Posted on August 28, 2015 12:01 am

A new study that I have been able to access shows that more workers in Sub Saharan Africa have been using the Internet for their occupations.Most people were more interested in using the network for useful purposes rather than to browse porn, online betting or entertainment.The main attraction for African Internet users are websites related to social media, e-commerce and news coverage.There were 100 million active Internet users in Sub Saharan Africa, a sharp rise from only 10 million in the first decade of the century. Several characteristics can be concluded from the study. For example, about 73 percent of the users were accessing the Internet from smart phones while 49 percent of users were in the range of 13 to 35 years old. Sub Saharan Africa has been among the top growing regions with the most Twitter and Facebook users.When I perused the survey, I realised a method is similar to the presidential election’s quick count.Respondents were strictly limited to those who used the Internet for an average of three hours per day. Researchers chose to conduct a survey rather than to monitor directly the activities of IP addresses over a period of time.“Many researchers use Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol, which means one IP address might be used by several clients to access the Internet. For example, the use of WiFi,” report quotes.

In the first decade of the century there was little content using the African languages on the Internet, contributing to the slow growth of early users. The attempt to reach out for more people will be widened by creating African-language content.There are aims to increase local contents like websites, mobile apps and captivate more people to use them.Besides phone calls,African population can now do many things with their gadgets, either for work or just killing time.I recall in 2013 while walking in Upper Kololo in Kampala where three complete strangers bumped into one another when walking while playing on their smartphones. Nothing special and they just kept silent and continued walking with their eyes glued to their gadgets.Thats just an example of what is happening across the continent.Smartphones go for as low as $100.Today,there are many people in Africa seen with their cell phones walking down the street or sitting at a foodstalls. They are, however; not making a phone call, but using the mobile gadget for other things such as reading or typing messages.Smarthphones are well named, users can do many things besides making or taking calls.

In general, a smartphone now offers many features such as text messaging, Internet browser, e-mail, social media, a camera for photos and video, downloading applications, map and GPS, mobile commerce and advertising, online banking and news and entertainment music, movies, radio, television channels and games.A study revealed last month that Africans spend most of their time on smartphones chatting, with nearly 80 percent using the Viber, Facebook and WhatsApp chat applications.Word-of-mouth and social media play a significant role in influencing consumers’ choice of smartphone. The study showed that across Sub Saharan Africa, most consumers list Internet reviews and blogs and referrals from friends, colleagues and family as the most common factors influencing their purchasing decisions.While mobile commerce in the majority of Sub Saharan Africa markets is still largely un-tapped, M-commerce activity trails at just 5 percent in the region. In terms of mobile advertising, the region is among the one with the highest resistance; only 43 percent clicked on mobile advertisements, compared to 90 percent in China, 87 percent in India and 78 percent in Japan as per 2014 figures.Indeed the smartphones are part of the latest trends among youths in sub saharan Africa.

Contador Harrison