– Rising economies, start-ups, and Black wealth, etc.
By The African Times/USA Investigative Team
Nigeria has emerged as the top-ranking country on the internet in our 2023 Influential Countries ranking. Following closely are the United States of America and India, securing the second and third positions, respectively.
During the review period, Nigerians displayed a remarkable online presence, especially when topics concerned or affected them. Their collective presence was truly massive. Two pivotal events illustrate this influence. Firstly, Nigerians rallied behind Baci Hilda, a young chef who organized a cook-a-thon to break a Guinness World Record previously held by an Indian. The announcement of Hilda’s Guinness World Record achievement garnered a staggering 33.9 million impressions and 242,000 likes. Guinness World Record declared that the tweet about Hilda’s win was their most engaging tweet due to Nigerians’ overwhelming support. Secondly, Josh2Funny’s performance on America’s Got Talent (AGT) set a new record, becoming the most-viewed AGT Twitter video ever. Within just 72 hours of release, the video gained an impressive 12.6 million impressions and 54,000 retweets. This trend of harnessing Nigerians’ collective support extends beyond entertainment to music, movies, and short-form video content. Brands recognize the immense potential for publicity and engagement by tapping into this broad appeal and Nigerians’ strong affinity for their own. This trend persists, whether the interest in the Nigerian market is genuine or not.
Prominent celebrities in America and Europe have also capitalized on this phenomenon by seeking to connect with the Nigerian audience on the internet, knowing they can gain substantial support in return. Many have cultivated loyal fanbases after openly acknowledging their Nigerian heritage, from Dr. Dre to Rotimi Akinosho, known for his role as Dre in “Power,” and Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, who declared her African roots. Collaborating with Nigerian talent has become a surefire way to generate global attention, as Nigerians consistently show up. Nigeria’s role in the globalization of Afrobeats is another testament to this influence.
Whether in the realms of arts and entertainment, football (soccer) , or even politics, Nigerians are a force that cannot be ignored. Popular entertainers, football clubs, and brands in America and Europe are eager to connect with the Nigerian audience because of the impact they can make.
Is this phenomenon solely due to population size? The answer is no. Despite being more populous, the United States and India, the second and third most influential countries, do not match Nigeria’s online influence. The key factor is that Nigerians excel at making their presence felt.
India, with over 900 million internet users, stood as the second-largest online market in the world, following China. However, internet penetration in India was just under 50 percent, lower than the global average. In contrast, countries like Denmark, the United Arab Emirates, and Ireland boasted internet penetration rates of 99 percent. India had an internet penetration of 48.7% with 692 million users. On the other hand, recent statistics indicate that in 2023, the United States had 311 million internet users, a 0.5% increase (1.5 million) from the previous year, representing 91.8% of the U.S. population. By 2023, nearly 92 percent of individuals in the United States accessed the internet, up from nearly 75 percent in 2012. The United States is among the world’s largest online markets, with nearly 299 million internet users in 2022. Nigeria’s internet penetration rate was 55.4 percent of the total population at the beginning of 2023. According to Kepios analysis, internet users in Nigeria increased by 2.9 million (+2.4 percent) between 2022 and 2023. Internet user penetration in Nigeria showed a gradual increase, rising from around 26 percent in 2018 to over 38 percent by 2022. In 2022, the estimated number of internet users in Nigeria was approximately 108 million.
Despite higher numbers in terms of internet users and penetration rates, the United States and India secured the second and third positions, respectively. The distinctive factor is that Nigerians not only show up but do so in an exceptionally impactful manner.
This annual ranking of the most influential countries on the internet is exclusively conducted by The African Times/USA investigative team.
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