A study by Pew suggests that cell phone ownership in Sub-Saharan Africa is largely influenced by the ability to speak or read English.
The Pew Research Center is a U.S. think tank based in Washington D.C. that provides information on social issues, public opinion and demographic trends shaping the U.S and the world.
The study reported on the proliferation of cell phone use in the region and uncovered a number of other various factors which underscore cell phone use.
According to Pew, “One-third of English-speaking Nigerians own a smartphone, compared with 2% of Nigerians who do not have the ability to read or speak at least some English.”
In Uganda, findings revealed that 75% of Ugandans who speak or read at least some English own a mobile phone, while only about 50% of those with no English language skills own one.
The report found that the amount of people who own cell phones in South Africa and Nigeria is quite high. About nine-in-10 have a cell phone.
In the South African context, English has been a highly influential language. An earlier study by Pew found:
“In addition to age and education, internet use is more common among people who have some English language ability. In every nation surveyed with a sufficient sample size to analyse, those who can speak or read some English, or completed the survey in English, accessed the internet at much higher rates than those who have no facility with English.”
This is in line with further findings from the research which indicated that popular use for cell phones with many of the respondents was for internet use.