Only 20% of Ethiopians are online
Only about 20% of Ethiopia's population has access to the Internet, less than 40% have a mobile phone and only 5.8% of people use social media, according to the Digital 2021: Ethiopia report from DataReportal.
The Horn of Africa nation's telecoms industry is regarded as a massive growth opportunity because it is one of the last nations with a complete telecoms monopoly, but that is set to change in 2021 with the government planning to award two new licenses and sell a 45% stake in state-owned Ethio Telecom.
Ethiopia has extended the deadline for telecom firms to bid for new operating licenses to April 5 with a number of big operators interested in expanding into the East African market.
The DataReportal report shows that Ethiopia had a population of 116.4 million in January 2021, with about 78% of those people living in rural areas. The number of Internet users in Ethiopia increased by 13% between January 2020 and January 2021, to 23.96 million, or Internet penetration of 20.6%.
There were 44.86 million mobile connections in Ethiopia in January 2021, or about 38.5% of the total population. This number did grow by about 710,000 users (or 1.6%) during the year. Of those mobile users 99.4% were on prepaid and just 0.6% had a postpaid or contract subscription.
Web traffic from mobile devices was dominated by Android with almost 90% of web traffic in the country originating from an Android device and just 5.6% from Apple devices.
Social media usage in Ethiopia is still extremely low with just 6.7 million social media users in January 2021, out of a population of 116.4 million. The country did add about 500,000 new social media users during the year, an 8% increase on the previous year.
Not surprisingly, 96.2% of social media users in the country connected via a mobile phone.
E-commerce figures remain extremely low in Ethiopia due to a lack of financial inclusion in general.
DataReportal's stats show that only 34.8% of Ethiopians aged 15 and over have an account with a financial institution and only 0.3% of men in Ethiopia have a credit card and only 0.2% of women. When it comes to mobile money on average only 0.3% of Ethiopians older than 15 have a mobile money account, compared to almost 73% of Kenyans. Only 0.6% of Ethiopians make online purchases or pays bills online, with more men shopping online than women.
— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa