What Mobile Technology Taught Us About Africa And The World Cup

Written by Dana Sanchez

In a mobile phone survey sent to Kenyans, 39 percent of respondents said via text messages that they had a member of their household go to bed hungry in the past seven days.

More survey respondents in Uganda (47 percent) said they use mobile money than in Ghana (28 percent) and Nigeria (19 percent). More than 80 percent of respondents in
both Ghana and Uganda were aware of mobile money, but only 58 percent in Nigeria said the same.

In a pre-World Cup survey of 10 African countries, 36 percent of respondents said they thought Brazil would win the World Cup, followed by Germany at 11 percent.

TV3 was the most-watched TV channel in Ghana in April, with 18.49 percent of audience share. The newest TV channel in Ghana, UTV, was just behind, with 18.44 percent of audience share.

These are a few examples of what mobile technology has taught us about Africa and Africans watching the World Cup, according to GeoPoll, a Denver, Colorado-based market research company. GeoPoll sends daily mobile surveys via text messages to users in the developing world.

Respondents answer questions on topics ranging from food security to TV-watching habits and brand preferences.

GeoPoll kicked off the mobile surveys to coincide with the World Cup in countries including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanzania.

In the two World Cup semifinals, the first game where host nation Brazil was defeated 1-7 by Germany, was more popular across Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanzania, than the second semifinal, Argentina vs. the Netherlands, GeoPoll found.

“This is not alltogether surprising,” according to a GeoPoll blog. “In our pre-World Cup survey we found that out of 10 African nations, 36 percent thought Brazil would win the World Cup, followed by Germany at 11 percent.”

Across all five countries — Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania — the first semifinal was viewed by 22.5 million, while the second was viewed by 18.4 million.

The difference was especially pronounced in Kenya, where 3.7 million watched the Brazil-Germany match, and 2 million watched Netherlands-Argentina. That 3.7 million represents about 8 percent of the total Kenyan population, and 17.8 percent of Kenyan adults who are regular media consumers.


GeoPoll asked users daily in 10 African nations who they thought would win the World Cup, allowing the market research company to see a wide view of African perceptions of the games. Perceptions changed. Until Brazil’s semifinal defeat, more than 30 percent of respondents said they thought Brazil would win. Africans also had a higher perception of the Netherlands than Argentina, although ever since Germany showed its strength in the first game against Ghana, Germany was a popular choice to win the entire World Cup.

Here’s how many people watched World Cup semifinals, according to GeoPoll:

Ghana: 2,435,000
Kenya: 3,725,000
Nigeria: 12,037,000
Tanzania: 3,331,000
Uganda: 927,000

Total: 22,455,000


Ghana: 2,525,000
Kenya: 2,016,000
Nigeria: 10,501,000
Tanzania: 2,621,000
Uganda: 956,000

Total: 18,431,000