Kenya’s top 20 towns on Facebook


Social media giant, Facebook estimates that there are 4 to 4.5 million Kenyans who are its monthly active users. Facebook usage patterns in Kenya are arguably strong indicators of the country’s internet connectivity patterns. Over 60% of Kenyans (2.5 – 3 million) accessing facebook at least once a month are based in Nairobi.  This is very telling especially as Kenya\’s second internet exchange point in Mombasa struggles to make business sense due to having too few users.


I used the Facebook audience insights tool to rank Kenyan cities and towns according to their monthly active users on Facebook. Below are the top 20 cities and towns in Kenya as at 9th June 2015.
Rank
City / Town
Facebook Monthly Active People
% of Kenya Facebook Monthly Active People
1
Nairobi
2.5m – 3m
60.0%
2
Mombasa
300K – 350K
8.0%
3
Eldoret
50K – 200K
4.0%
4
Kisumu
100K – 150K
3.0%
5
Nakuru
100K – 150K
3.0%
6
Thika
50K – 60K
1.0%
7
Meru
40K – 45K
1.0%
8
Nyeri
35K – 40K
0.9%
9
Kakamega
30K – 35K
0.8%
9
Kisii
30K – 35K
0.8%
9
Kitale
30K – 35K
0.7%
12
Kericho
25K – 30K
0.6%
13
Machakos
20K – 25K
0.5%
13
Naivasha
20K – 25K
0.5%
15
Bungoma
15K – 20K
0.5%
15
Malindi
15K – 20K
0.4%
15
Embu
15K – 20K
0.4%
15
Nanyuki
15K – 20K
0.4%
15
Narok
15K – 20K
0.4%
20
Kiambu
10K – 15K
0.3%
20
Busia
10K – 15K
0.3%


Skyline of Machakos Town – Ranked 13th with
20-25 thousand people monthly active on Facebook 
While Nairobi is the capital city and much economic activity is expected to emanate from such a city, its lion’s share of internet traffic points at concentration in economic activity. This could be an area of concern for leadership of counties which represent devolved economic units. It may also be a major concern for government paid ICT promoters such as the Communications Authority and the ICT authority. Its telling of the success or failure of tax funded initiatives such as the universal access fund and the National Optic Fiber Infrastructure (NOFBI) to advance digital inclusion in the country.


There are areas where the internet and its benefits
can only be imagined and mimicked
A few months back I wrote about the significance of social media platforms such as facebook in agriculture and ranked the top 10 agriculture themed facebook groups in Kenya. There is evidence that internet connectivity and tools promote economic activity. For everyone concerned about using internet related technology to spur economic activity in towns outside Nairobi, the above trends should elicit action.
Internet progressive nations in the region such as Rwanda are reporting advances toward blanketing their smaller land mass with high speed Long Term Evolution (LTE) connectivity. A big question begs as to whether execution of Kenya’s broadband strategy will bear fruit in bridging the country’s vast digital divide.

The Top 10 agricuture Facebook groups in Kenya

There is serious agriculture going on in Facebook. At least among Kenyan farmers, there is those that have found Facebook as the place to research and gather knowledge for application in their agricultural related ventures. Others are finding prices of inputs and produce on Facebook groups. Can one be practicing agriculture on Facebook? I think research and access to relevant knowledge for application in one’s agricultural venture is part and parcel of the venture’s activities; hence there can be agricultural practice on Facebook. I think this is one aspect of information technology driven innovation that Agriculture is facing in emerging economies. As I once wrote earlier last year, these innovations may just matter.
Here is my list of the top 10 Facebook Groups covering agricultural interests that involve Kenyans by membership size.


Rank
Facebook Group Name
Size of membership
(March 13th,  2015)
1
34,360
2
20,719
3
14,466
4
8,308
5
7,676
6
5,373
7
3,951
8
3,730
19
2,239
10
2,018


In the list we see an apparent trend of groups forming around a particular agricultural sub-sector such as poultry, dairy, rabbit and pig production. Incidentally, majority of the groups in the list also seem to have a specific livestock focus. This could be resulting from my interest bias or there could be something about the livestock sector that renders itself better to this online phenomenon than crop cultivation.


Joseph Macharia – Founder of Mkulima Young
Omission of Mkulima Young in the list above is deliberate. Their Facebook page has seen phenomenal growth in the last two years. I note it separately as an organizational page rather than an interest group. Also very noteworthy is Mkulima Young’s advancement towards creating their own web platform for not only knowledge exchange on agricultural practice but also a agricultural commodities market place. They also have an active twitter and youtube channel. It appears to be run as an outright business rather than a special interest group. Apart from Mfarm\’s and Shamba Shape up\’s, I have not come across comparable pages built around existing Kenya focused farming and agriculture related enterprises with “page likes” above five thousand. Mkulima young has forty one thousand “page likes” as at mid March 2015.


The Farming Kenya group appears to follow Mkulima young’s path of creating their own independent website. Their website is http://farmingkenya.org where only signed up

FarmingKenya.Org Logo

members are allowed to contribute content. Guests are allowed to view content. The website has sections for questions and answers, forums, blogs and photo sharing. Membership in this website requires a special signup process independent of Facebook’s.


Agriculture focused Facebook groups, pages and related websites seem to have a promise for providing the youth with a platform for exchanging best practices in agriculture. They also appear to be an increasingly popular mechanism for market price discovery as regards agricultural inputs and produce. It will be interesting to see how the landscape unravels as agriculture becomes a more youthful economic activity while the youth have greater access to the internet and internet enabled phones.
Since the above list of top agriculture Facebook groups is my first version, I may have omitted an important one with significant membership. I welcome suggestions for additional entries in the list.

Using Facebook’s Audience Insights to Estimate East Africa’s Digital Market Size

Global social media giant Facebook has over 1Billion monthly active users. The immense popularity of Facebook reflects easily in internet usage patterns among people in East Africa. Back in 2010, a research by Synovate indicated that 79% of internet users in Kenya had Facebook accounts. The Communications Authority of Kenya( CA) – formerly CCK places the number of internet users in Kenya at 21 million as at December 2013.

I am skeptical about the CA\’s estimation formula for estimating number of internet users in Kenya. However if the trend highlighted by Synovate in 2010 remained, and CA\’s number was close to accurate, there would be about 16 million Facebook accounts belonging to Kenyans. That said many people having a Facebook account reflects how many people became aware of it and signed up, not necessarily those who use it actively (eg. at least once a month). The 16million estimate on Facebook users would therefore not be a reliable benchmark for market estimation among start ups or corporate marketers.

Of Facebook\’s Audience Insights

Shortly after the PIVOT East conference in June, I had a chat with Matthew Papakipos – Facebook\’s Engineering Director that was an eye opener. Matthew took me through Facebook\’s new audience insights tool that helps to reveal not only Facebook user demographics (anonymised) but also inferences about the general internet market place. The tool which was launched for US markets early May, and is now available in other markets will change how regional digital entrepreneurs estimate their market sizes.

To feed my never ending curiosity about mobile devices used in the East African market place, I used the tool to quickly generate a table comparing some key numbers. The tabulation below begins to tell how East Africa, though with much potential falls behind Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa on active internet use.

<!–td {border: 1px solid #ccc;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}
Country
Population (million)²
Facebook Monthly Active People¹
Total Own Mobile Devices Own Android Devices
1 Kenya 43.18 4m-4.5m 3m-3.5m 1m-1.5m
2 Uganda 36.35 1m-1.5m 1m-1.5m 250K-300K
3 Tanzania 47.78 1.5m-2m 1.5m-2m 600K-700K
4 Rwanda 11.46 350K-400K 300K-350K 100K-150K
5 Burundi 9.85 100K-150K 70K-80K 20K-25K
East Africa³ 148.62 7m-8m 6m-7m 2m-2.5m
Ethiopia 91.73 1.5m-2m 1.5m-2m 500K-600K
South Africa 51.19 10m-15m 9m-10m 2.5m-3m
Nigeria 168.8 10m-15m 10m-15m 3m-3.5m
Egypt 80.72 15m-20m 10m-15m 7m-8m
¹ Facebook Audience Insights as at 4th July 2014
² World Bank 2012 Country Statistics
³ Aggregate numbers for 5 East African countries
A further glance at the audience insights roughly hints at the popularity of feature phones across East Africa at about 50%. From the insights, about a third of mobile devices owned by Facebook\’s monthly active users run on android – by far leading other smart phone operating systems such as Windows and Apple IoS. Popularity of android in Egypt stands out, estimated at about 70% of mobile devices (using the lower limit data points).

A promising market place for digital entrepreneurs 

A closer look at the figures above indicates much potential for East Africa as a common market place among digital entrepreneurs. The region\’s close to 150 million residents compares only with Nigeria\’s population of 170 million. East Africa\’s 150 million people coupled with the prospects of integrating the traditional East African economy with Ethiopia (92million people) portends even much more for regional digital entrepreneurs.

Assuming that  East Africa\’s people will rapidly embrace internet and mobile technologies, the next few 3-5 years may deliver a digital revolution to the economies involved. This is especially if the regional economies persist at increasing coverage of 3G and 4G across the countries. The promise of this increased mobile network coverage is quite evident in Ethiopia and Rwanda.