Tuesday, June 9, 2015

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.