I read this:
Lagos — A report released by the World Internet Stats in its global 2011 Facebook usage report has shown that the number of Nigerian Facebook users has increased from 400, 000 in the last four years to 4.3 million at the end of December 2011.
According to the report, Nigeria maintains third position in terms of the number of Facebook users in the African continent, coming behind Egypt and South Africa with 9.4 million and 4.8 million users respectively.
…and it made me make this:
I really wanted to see the relationship between population and connectivity amongst the developing and developed nations of Africa. The data says two things that you probably already know: 1| Facebook is the quintessential global flattening tool of the 21st century (the only other precedence I can think of are the telephone and Christopher Columbus), and 2| Nigeria is a force amongst African nations and has the potential to impact the global market. We’ve undoubtedly seen this in the recent oil debacle.
So what of these shifts? How do they effect you, you ask? The fact of the matter is it does. Bloomberg News reports that:
Crude oil for February delivery gained 0.2 percent to $98.87 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 1:41 p.m. [Jan 16th] in Singapore. Cocoa prices in New York have advanced 4.6 percent in New York since the strike started on concern shipment from Nigeria, the world’s fourth-biggest producer of the beans, will be disrupted.
One can easily be a cynic when it comes to African global integration. I mean last month, world renowned former Foreign Office Architects partner and Harvard Graduate School of Design professor, Farshid Moussavi, said that she was “dubious” of students working in places like rural Africa, saying that its “an easy option.” Strangely enough, however, here I am sitting in on Harvard GSD course presentations, and already I’ve heard two or three seminars on design and policy planning for slums in Mumbai, Africa, and elsewhere. It seems Moussavi’s colleagues, Michael Hays, Rahul Mehrotra and Michael Hooper got the memo before her, but I digress.
The point is that social media such as Facebook and Twitter are playing a pivotal role in exposing people in developing nations to a heightened quality of life as well as the role they can play in shaping their nations. NGO’s, NPO’s and other outside organizations can come in and drop seeds of wisdom and aid all day long, but fostering empowerment comes from harnessing the tools available to a people, such as internet connectivity and access to a global forum like Facebook. It’s like putting a seat at the table for every person that has a username and password. The impact on local and global perceptions of a place can be changed dramatically.
So with the rise in competitive mobile markets in developing countries like Nigeria, mobile connectivity is more readily accessible to a growing vibrant generation of youth. In the line graph in the lower right of the graphic, I projected an increase in the rate of growth of Facebook in Africa. Currently at only 3.6%, it has no where to go but up, and with new regional computer plants and awareness of best practices in computer refurbishing programs, it will go up exponentially.
It might be that Twitter and Facebook, in the age of mobile technology are the first sign of a nation on its way to becoming a thriving developed nation. Who knows!