First The Good
- Nigeria Internet Usage Explodes
As at December 2014, the Internet Live Stats reports that with over 67 million users, Nigeria has the 8th largest population of Internet users in the world and the largest in Africa. In other words, over 67 million people living in Nigeria have access to the Internet. This figures puts the current Internet penetration rate at 37. 59% - implying that almost 40% of its population have access to the Internet. In 2014, Nigeria’s Internet users increased by 16% (9.3 Million + users) over its 2013 figures. Between 2010 and 2014, the Internet usage has almost doubled in Nigeria.
The Nigerian user has shown tremendous resilience and keeps finding ways to connect to the Internet no matter what. In 2015 organizations need to be very deliberate about exploiting the opportunities that will arise. If your business is focused on the retail consumer, 2015 is your year to flourish.
- Kick Ebola Out Social Media Campaigns
One of the few bright global headlines about Nigeria in 2014 was how we succeeded in kicking out the Ebola virus disease in record time.
It was reported that a “mobile phone app used by health workers in Nigeria was very useful in reducing reporting times of infections by seventy-five percent. Through the app, test results of suspected cases were scanned to tablets and uploaded to emergency databases. Field teams got text message alerts on their phones informing them of the results." GPS systems also helped with real-time contact tracing. Sadly, we lost one of Nigeria’s finest – Dr Adadevoh.
The success of Nigeria’s integrated social-traditional media Ebola campaign generated over a million positive media mentions in leading media and medical journals across the world.
- The Rise of The Taxi Mobile Apps
Through their mobile apps, Easy Taxi, Afrocab and CabGuy brought new life into taxi services by offering convenient taxi calling services. These forerunners have made a business case for copycat examples to spring up in 2015. Whatever the case, expect such services to reach Port Harcourt in 2015. There is still a need to improve customer experience especially around the booking process.
- New Media Platforms Overtake
In 2014 pure new media platforms such as Naij (www.naij.com) and Linda Ikeji leapfrogged conventional websites of traditional media firms. The website analytics site, Alexa.com shows that both sites have more website visitors than any media organization. Naij is the run away social leader. With over 100,000 downloads, its mobile news app is the most popular in Nigeria. Its over 2.6 million fans on Facebook make it the most popular Nigerian media brand on Facebook. For an organization that was founded on May 15, 2012 this is pretty impressive.
- Online Shopping Here to Stay
With adverts almost anywhere you turn, Konga and Jumia have helped to drive growth in the online retail space. With players such as DealDey, Nigerians are getting comfortable with shopping online from Nigerian based brands. In 2014, Slot Systems unarguably Nigeria’s largest physical gadgets outlet launched its own online store. 2015 will surely be a great year for the retail consumer.
- Online Learning Become More Mainstream
In 2014, a leading online course platform had Nigerians accounting for almost 8% of its user base. Today, Nigerian undergraduates, job seekers and those in paid employment are studying a variety of short courses online. With the gloomy economic outlook in 2015, expected job losses and reduced training budgets, people will need to take their careers into their hands. Affordable online courses will come to the rescue...for individuals, small and medium enterprises, large corporations and governments
…And The Bad
- Online Extremism
From ISIL to Boko Haram, extremist groups with the means and motivation have relentlessly driven sustained social media campaigns. These campaigns aim to recruit followers, terrorize victims, spread their ideologies and galvanize their power base. Sadly, they seem to be doing a good job of turning out content that is authentic, believable and credible. If the events of 2014 are anything to go by, 2015 looks bleak. We must all work together if we are to have a safer world. It will be nice for a change to have governments revamp their communication and citizen engagement approach going forward.
With the attacks on Sony Pictures and several online retail stores, the stage is set for even more information security breaches in 2015. Any organizations with sensitive data to protect will only have itself to blame if it does not urgently evaluate and deploy a realistic counter-hacking contingency plan. Do you know what your system administrators are up to? Do all those who have access to your organization’s data really need to have access? It also applies to personal online security? Do you really need to share your location; your current and future movement plans online? Must you put up that post? Discretion is the new virtue online.
On Christmas day, it would be 255 days since the Chibok girls were abducted. The success of the hashtag campaign #BringBackOurGirls was what forced the Nigerian government to act. Sadly, today we are no closer to getting them back.
As you celebrate this period with your loved ones, spare a thought, prayer and gifts for the grieving, the injured, the abandoned and the neglected in Nigeria. We must never forget! Have a Merry Xmas!
P.S: This article was also published in the 17th of December 2014 edition of the Punch Newspapers. Click to Read