The total number of African mothers is estimated to be approximately 551.7 million. Internet penetration among African women continues to be less than that of men, and over 71% of African girls and women will still not be online by the end of 2020. We have provided below a detailed overview of internet penetration among African women, trends in the African e-learning market, and the triangulation used to determine the current number of African mothers.
Number of African Mothers
- As per the data from Countrymeters, there were 664.7 million women in Africa at the end of December 2019.
- According to the data from the Gallup World Poll, 32% of women in Sub-Saharan Africa are single mothers while 51% are married and have children in households. The rest of the women do not have children in households.
- In the absence of any other recent and pan-African data, we have assumed the above numbers for sub-Saharan Africa to be representative of the entire African region. Hence, the total number of single mothers in Africa currently can be estimated to be ~212.7 million (664.7*32/100), while the number of married mothers can be triangulated to be ~339.0 million (664.7*51/100). Thus, the total number of mothers in Africa currently aggregates to approximately 551.7 million (212.7+339.0).
African Women with Internet Access
- According to the data by the World Wide Web Foundation, only 18% of women in Africa have access to the internet as compared to 25% of men. This implies that over 200 million women in Africa are unconnected. The data specific to the African mothers was not available in the public domain.
- As per data from Statista, in 2019, 22.6% of females in Africa used the internet while 33.8% of African men did so. A snapshot of the data can also be viewed here.
- As per data from Forbes, only 29% of women in Sub-Saharan Africa are connected to mobile internet, which is the predominant channel for accessing the internet. Additionally, the gender-gap for mobile internet in Sub-Saharan Africa is 41%. This implies that while only 29% of women have access to mobile internet, 70% of men have it.
- As per an analysis by ONE, given the current trends of internet penetration, over 71% of African girls and women will still not be online by 2020, pushing the connectivity gap between men and women to over 26%.
- Some prominent reasons behind this low internet penetration rate among African women include unaffordable access, threats to access and use, low digital literacy and confidence, and the lack of relevant content, applications, and services.
- Over the 2013-2018 period, the proportion of African women who own mobile phones grew by 6%, while women’s regular Internet use more than doubled. Some African countries have depicted abnormal gains in internet usage over this period. Over 2013-2018, the proportion of women who regularly use the Internet grew by 36% in South Africa, 30% in Cabo Verde, 28% in Tunisia, 25% in Sudan, 24% in Mauritius, and 22% in Namibia.
- As per a report by Afrobarometer, based on a survey of 34 African countries, there are wide regional variances in Africa in the use of the internet by women. At the high end, 58% of women in Cabo Verde and 57% in Mauritius use the internet regularly, while fewer than 10% of women do so in Mali, Niger, Benin, Madagascar, Burkina Faso, and Malawi. The below diagram represents internet usage by gender in various African countries.
Online Courses Market Trends in Africa
1) E-Learning Market in Africa is Expanding
- As per data from EMR, the African e-learning market was valued at around $905 million in 2019 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.5% between 2020 and 2025 to reach a value of about $2,073 million by 2025.
- IMARC also expects the African e-learning market to expand by ~14.8% CAGR over the 2018-2024 period and reach $1,813 million by 2024 from $792 million in 2018.
- Some major drivers of the market include rising disposable incomes, increasing population, increasing government initiatives, rising internet penetration, and growing smartphone and consumer electronics usage. One of the leading trends in the African e-learning industry has been the rising efforts by the regional governments to improve the education system in the respective regions. For example, "the African Virtual University (AVU), a pan-African intergovernmental organization, has been using information and communications technology to provide higher education as well as training in more than 27 African countries. As a result of these programs, the use of e-learning technology in Africa has increased."
- On a regional basis, South Africa, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Kenya are the major countries where e-learning is expected to gain prominence rapidly. South Africa represents the largest region, accounting for nearly one-fourth of the African e-learning market.
- Based on sectors, K-12 is expected to be the biggest sector of the e-learning industry in Africa. Other sectors that are likely to drive the industry growth in coming years include post-secondary, corporate, and government learning.
- Currently, packaged content accounts for the majority of the total e-learning market in Africa and is expected to lead the growth over the next 5 years. Services and platform-based e-learning is also popular in the African e-learning industry.
- The leading technologies that are gaining traction in the African e-learning market include mobile learning, simulation-based learning, game-based learning, and the use of a learning management system (LMS), among others. Out of these, mobile learning currently dominates the market, holding the largest share and is expected to lead the future industry growth.
2) Use of Technology in the African E-Learning Market
- The inclusion of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technologies in e-learning is another key trend that is likely to disrupt the e-learning and online course market in Africa in the coming years. These technologies facilitate experiential learning that allows students to grasp theoretical concepts faster and in greater depth. Imisi 3D, an Extended Reality (XR) creation lab, is working to transform the African education system with levrn3, an open-source VR platform.
- With the ongoing roll-out of the ultra-fast 5G technology and its wide deployment in Africa in the next couple of years, digital learning in Africa is expected to continue to boom through mobile devices. Also, enhancements in fiber optic connectivity in Africa will likely provide disruptive growth to the market by making e-learning and online courses accessible to a larger population.
- Another disruptive factor in the African e-learning and online courses landscape is the use of artificial intelligence (AI). It helps educators to target the right students with the right courses. For example, the data gathered from the free counseling sessions to students can be processed and analyzed using AI to design the perfect mix of diploma courses to go with the African university courses.
- AI also assists in creating a personalized or customized learning system for each student, thereby bringing greater inclusivity and accessibility to education. The governments in AI-rich African countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa have initiated to take a supportive approach towards the implementation of AI in e-learning, and further developments in this area will aid the overall e-learning market growth in the region.
- The use of cloud platforms in e-learning and delivering online courses is also gaining momentum in Africa. HITCH, a Nigeria-based ed-tech start-up, provides a cloud platform that enables teachers to hand pick videos and upload them to their school’s HITCH Video Hotspot for students to download. This enables underserved African schools to have access to curated, high-quality educational content.
- Some trending African startups that are disrupting the e-learning market in Africa with their advanced technologies include PraxiLabs (provides virtual laboratories for schools and learning organizations), LangBot (allows teachers or online course publishers to easily create AI chatbots), M-Shule (provides personalized, data-driven learning to every child through SMS), and Mtabe (an AI-powered platform providing personalized instant learning content and answers from a virtual tutor via SMS), among others.
The trends specific to the online courses for African women could not be found in the public domain. Hence, we have expanded the scope of the request to include overall trends in the e-learning market in Africa. To find the required information, we scoured through the industry reports from Deloitte, Mckinsey, Forrester Research, Market Radar, Business Wire, Statista, and Accenture, among others. We also tried to search through media articles from Forbes, PR NewsWire, Business Insider, Bloomberg, Live Mint, Reuters, etc., and surveys from Pew Research, EMR, Global Newswire, and Deloitte, among others. We also tried to take an alternative path and search through the annual reports, filings, and management commentary of some leading companies in the African online courses market such as Docebo, Via Afrika, Eneza Education, etc. However, after an exhaustive search through the above-mentioned sources, we were unable to find any trends specific to the online courses for African women. All the information found was specific to the overall e-learning market in Africa. Hence, we have expanded the scope and included e-learning related trends as they are pertinent and applicable to the online course market as well.