Infostate of Africa

Jon Gosier —  November 13, 2009 — 31 Comments

People often only see Africa from one perspective, here’s another. The above infographic details some of the happenings over the past few years in regards to infrastructure improvement and capacity building in Africa, particularly in the area of the internet and cost. The sources are various reports from the International Monetary Fund, InternetWorldStats, the Millennium Development Goals, research papers, various websites, executive market research and more; compiling some fascinating facts about the continent’s ‘infostate’ (trends in information technology and communication).

Although the text is hard to read in it’s reduced size, you can download high-res image from Flickr.

Update Nov 14: Due to a number of email requests, this graphic is available as a high-quality poster in various sizes here. It can be shipped internationally and for African buyers who can’t use paypal, Western Union or Bank Transfer is accepted. Just email us at

There’s a ton of visual information piled into this piece to look at everything in more detail, check out this flickrset. Here’s some of the highlights:

Population of each country, each countries two digit ccTLD (country code top-level domain) and the countries that rank in the top of the continent’s internet usage.

The World Economic Forum’s Network Readiness Index Ranking is used to show which countries are the most attractive to telecom operators and investors.

An overview of the various submarine cable projects.

The capacity of each of those cables as well as the cost and estimated arrival dates.

A spectral graph that proportionately details the penetration of internet in countries across the continent.

This concentric circle graph proportionately indicates the strongest economies of Africa.

The high-res download linked above is 98% finished, you can get the fully finished version in print from our shop.

Jon Gosier


Founder of Apps4Africa, Appfrica, and D8A

31 responses to Infostate of Africa


    This is really interesting. I was wondering if you could post your list of sources in full? Thank you!


      The difficult thing was that there wasn't 'one' place I went to for everything. I needed to read through several articles. main one was, also the following: (for the pipe info and map inspiration),, INSEAD Global Information Technology Report 2008 – 2009 "Mobility in a Networked World, Wikipedia (for the ccTLDs of each country),, Africa ICT Indicators 2007, Scientific MEasure of Africa's Connectivity, Several World Bank reports and blog posts, New Statesman, ITU's The World in 2009 ICT Facts and Figures, Network Readiness Index 2006-2007. Should be all of it. Some of these reports are prohibitvely expensive and/or hard to get a hold of. However the reports from a year or two back are often buried in the interwebs. So some numbers may be slightly outdated, but not so far off that they should be discredited. Again, look in the fine print of the image, most of the sources are listed. All of them are listed on the print copy.


    This information is invaluable especially for those in the internet industry in Africa. It is important to have this visual information which is why we shall link to your site on African Digital Art.


      Thanks, AD. I totally agree with you. I wish there was a free index of this info, but that would put quite a few market researchers out of business so it is what it is.


    All sources are listed in the actual graphic itself. Is there's something specific you're looking for a reference for let me know. But I don't think I forgot anything.


    Can I repost your article on PalavaHut… I think it is great…


      All posts on are under the CCby License. That means you can repost however you wish, as long as you link back or give credit us in some other way. =)


    I am still in shock about the World Bank's Internet usage data for Africa. I just can't believe that Zimbabwe has higher penetration than Kenya or Uganda, and Congo is above DRC. Something is wrong there.


    We're looking at the same data set – that column on the right side of your infopic is from ITU and WB data and the numbers are people with access to the Internet per 100 inhabitants.

    Somehow I find it hard to believe that Sudan has more folks per 100 online than Nigeria.



    Congratulations, gorgeous graphics. What software did you use?


    Just a brief note on the last graph… "This concentric circle graph proportionately indicates the strongest economies of Africa." Unfortunately, the graphic misrepresents the proportions indicates, as the only thing in proportion is the diameter of the circles. But because of the use of circles, we are inclined to compare the areas. So while the figure for South Africa is ~3x that of Morroco, it looks 9x as big.

    It's a shame that infographics too often focus more on the graphics part than the info…


      I think that particular visual could be interpreted either way, but I assume anyone really studying is going to look for the mathematic relation, and figure it out. Which you did. I'd say that's still effective.


    Are there any resources that predict future numbers of connected systems (in 2011? 2015?). Your research has been extensive and well presented.


    Excellent stuff Jon.
    Getting a large print done for the Nairobi Office


    if you want truly African data, check out : Research ICT Africa ( They don't have all the countries, but collected through random sampling, nationally representative and being analyzed by African economists. They use household collected data versus ITU's supply side (from operators) data. The data from the survey is in the public domain and available for use by anyone under a Creative Commons ShareAlike NonCommercial licence.


    Great work, Jon! Keep up the work…


    Thank you for the excellent presentation… and perhaps more importantly (for me at least) a departure point for further reading.

    Kathleen and McTim, thanks for the additional sources.


    You make a great job, your site is really interesting. I'll make a link on mine. Keep up the work Jon !


    Interesting, some useful information to ponder you just provided


    This has to be the seventh time I'm coming back to this article. Great one!


    Great site and article; really innovative and gives great insight into the technology paradigm shift in Africa.


    You make a great job, your site is really interesting keep the posts coming :)


    this is a great visual representation of a wealth of information, great work


    Great work Jon!! Keep it up!

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