Africa is the second largest continent in the world in size and population after Asia. With over 1 billion people, Africa accounts for 16% of the world’s population, and according to Internet World Stats, currently over 327 million people on the continent have access to the internet. The continent has also experienced a 7,146.7% growth rate in internet access from the year 2000 to 2015, which is the highest growth rate in the world. Africa however still has the lowest internet penetration rate in the world, with only 28.2% of the continent’s population being active internet users.
Nigeria has the highest amount of internet users on the continent, with over 92 million users, which accounts for 51.1% of the country’s population. Second on the list is Egypt with over 48 million internet users, which accounts for over 54% of the country’s population having access to the internet. Over 63% of the Kenyan population has access to the internet, and that amounts to over 29 million users. 49% of the South African population has access to the internet, which amounts to over 26 million people, as well as over 60% of the Moroccan population, which amounts to over 20 million people. Other countries on the continent with significant internet access include Algeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Libya, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
With a large amount of Africans having access to the internet, and therefore being able to access news and information. Here’s a look at some of the top Google searches in Africa in 2015.
Kenya Garissa Attack
The terrorist attack on university students by militants from the terror extremist group al-Shabab made news headlines in April 2015. The militants attacked Garissa University College in Garissa, which is in the north east of Kenya and is around 200 kilometres away from Somalia, on the 2nd of April and killed over 140 students. According to BBC, over 500 students managed to escape the attacks, and the militant group claimed responsibility for the attacks, saying that it was in retaliation to Kenya’s peace keeping efforts in Somalia. Three days of mourning was declared after the attacks. According to Daily Nation, Deputy President William Ruto and the Education ministry plan to re-open the university, saying that more police presence will be deployed into the region, beefing up security to combat criminal gangs and terrorists. The government says that Garissa University College is part of the infrastructural educational development that is needed in Kenya.
Nigeria Attacks and Nigeria Election 2015
Nigeria attacks has been one of the top searches on Google as terrorist organization Boko Haram wreaks havoc in Northern Nigeria and in parts of Cameroon, Chad and Niger. The jihadist group started in 2009 as an armed rebellion against the government of Nigeria, and was brought into light after the kidnapping of schoolgirls in Chibok in 2014 which prompted the #BringBackOurGirls campaign on social media. Violence and displacement of communities escalated in 2014, with over 2.3 million people escaping the violence brought by the jihadist into neighbouring countries and over 10,000 people losing their lives in suicide bombing attacks.
The Nigerian general elections of 2015 made headlines during the March and April period of 2015 as they were the 5th quadrennial elections to be held since the end of military rule in 1999 and were the most expensive election ever to be held in Africa. Former President Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat on the 31st of March, and opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari took over as the new president of Africa’s most populous nation after winning the presidential election by over 2.5 million more votes than Goodluck Jonathan. He was sworn in as president on the 29th of May.
Hello by Adele
British singer Adele made a major comeback in October 2015 with the release of her single ‘Hello’ by XL Recordings. The single is the lead single from her third studio album titled ‘25’. According to Billboard, the ‘25’ album has made a new music record by being the 11th album released since 2005 to sell 5 million copies. The song also sold over 1.10 million downloads in the first week in the US, and is also currently the number one song (and ‘25’ is the number one album) on iTunes in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Egypt and Botswana.
La Liga, Football and Messi
Football season is in full swing with the 2015/2016 season of the Spanish football league of La Liga. The Spanish league was formed in 1927 after director of Arenas Club de Getxo José María Acha proposed the idea of a national league in Spain. Ten teams formed the first Primera División in 1929, those being Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Arenas Club de Getxo, Copa del Rey, Espanyol, Europa, Racing de Santander, Real Unión and Atlético Madrid. Barcelona is currently first on the Spanish Primera BBVA 2015/16 table, and the team includes star players such as Neymar, Lionel Messi, Xavi and Luis Suárez. Lionel Messi was the top searched football player in 2015, after a stellar goalscoring performance on Matchday 23 of La Liga against Levante, and again against Bayern Munich. The also purged forward with his classic football power in a La Albiceleste game between Argentina and Paraguay, with Argentina winning 6-1 against the fellow South American nation. Livescore was also the most searched site on Google, as football fans searched for live results of football matches.
South Africa’s State of the Nation Address 2015
South Africa’s State of the Nation address 2015 was the most googled topic for 2015 as members of the opposition party, the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) were hauled out of parliament by police for disrupting President Jacob Zuma’s speech. EFF MPs disrupted proceedings by demanding that President Zuma pay back a portion of over R200 million which was used to upgrade his personal residence in Nkandla, KwaZulu Natal after public protector Thuli Madonsela released a report stating that some of the upgrades were unlawful and recommended that the President pay back a portion of the money spent on upgrades. SONA 2015 also made headlines after cellphone signal was temporarily jammed at Parliament. This came after MPs from EFF were removed from Parliament by police for disrupting Parliament proceedings. Journalists and media houses protested the move, which they deemed as unlawful, and have since gone to the Western Cape High Court to declare signal jamming as unlawful during February 2015’s proceedings in Parliament.
The Burundi elections caught the attention of the world after they turned violent when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term in office. The worst outbreak in violence was seen in May 2015 after a failed coup and after President Nkurunziza won in disputed elections in July 2015. More than 200,000 civilians have fled Burundi since May fearing the return of a civil war after a decade long civil war that ended in 2006 between rebels from the Hutu majority and an army dominated by minority Tutsis.
Black Friday was the most searched topic on Google in Africa in November 2015 as consumers purchased goods at discounted prices on the 27th of November at major retail stores. Black Friday originated in the US. It is the Friday after the American Thanksgiving when retailers sell their merchandise at massive discounts. The online store Jumia was the most searched store particularly in Morocco and Nigeria in relation to Black Friday as it offered discounts on their merchandise. Checkers stores were also the most searched on Google in relation to Black Friday in Southern Africa as they offered up to 50% off their merchandise.
The Mozambican main opposition party Renamo has been making headlines in 2015 following tensions with the ruling party Frelimo. In the latest events, clashes between Mozambican government forces and Renamo have resulted in several deaths after the government vowed to disarm Renamo, which has refused to accept the results of last year’s elections that returned the long-ruling Frelimo party to power. In July, many Mozambican citizens fled to neighbouring Malawi to escape escalating violence, and earlier, Mozambican lawyer Gilles Cistac, who has said opposition calls for decentralisation of power were backed by law, was shot dead in Maputo.
Cassper Nyovest’s Fill Up The Dome Concert
South African rapper Cassper Nyovest made history by becoming the first South African artist to sell out the concert venue in Johannesburg, The Dome, on the 31st of October 2015 when he hosted his concert called Fill Up The Dome. The concert was the most talked about topic on social media, having trended for almost 3 days during the weekend of the 31st of October. The Dome is the largest indoor venue in South Africa, and can host concerts with a fully seated capacity of 130,00 people to a combination of seated/ standing capacity of 19,000 people.
Tanzania’s 2015 elections were among the top googled stories in Tanzania and neighbouring Kenya this year. Tanzania’s new president John Magufuli was sworn into office on the 5th of November 2015 along with the first female vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan. President Magufuli won the October 25 poll with over 58% of votes, cementing the long-running Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party’s firm grip on power. The elections were deemed free and fair, despite all groups raising concerns over the annulment of Zanzibar’s local elections. The annulment was due to violations of electoral law including double-voting and cheating.