Ethiopian Blogosphere: the Smallest in the World?


Ethiopia is one of the least represented countries on the internet.  According to the ITU2009 report only 0.4% of the populations have access to the information on the internet. The traffic generated by Ethiopian sites has been limited. This makes the country less favorable to online businesses. Content is indeed king.

A few months ago Joern and I made a little research and we found out that Ethiopia had less than 20 bloggers in the country. This is rather shocking stats compared to 160,000 (July 2008) Bloggers in Egypt. Interestingly, according to a report released by the Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC), there were just 40 bloggers in 2004. On contrary, Ethiopian love to socialize using social media like Facebook. 90.07% of internet users use Facebook in daily basis. This makes Ethiopia one of the highest Facebook users per population per internet access. Ethiopia ranks 98 out of 187 countries with number of Facebook users. The internet penetration in the country also increases in a big scale.

When we took the initiatives to promote content generation and blogging in the country, we already saw a positive change in the last few months. The number of bloggers has been doubled and it still growing. Part of our recent efforts, the Ethiopian-blog aggregator and the GreenTechEthiopia blog are two good examples.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation sponsors the GreenTechEthiopia blog which aims to encourage online interaction and information sharing about green technologies. In this platform, we transfer knowledge and info about new green technology available in the country to the world. John F. Nebel, one of the famous bloggers in Berlin, and I gave the first blogging training at iceEthiopia. The response is enormously satisfactory. Though many of the participants have a journalism background, one fourth of them didn’t know what a blog means and only one of the trainees own a blog. The next training is planned for early December this year.

There is a dramatically significant progress on Ethiopian blogosphere so as Ethiopian representation on the internet. Ethiopian netizens started to talk already – are you following?

26 comments

  1. dandon · November 10, 2011

    Thank you for your effort to change number of bloggers.It is a promising change Markos! I think many people are not utilizing the net efficiently. And a lot has to be done in changing the attitude of net users to blog just what they feel. In a country just like ethiopia where the newspaper industry is weakening. Blogging is an ideal solution for the freedom speech. As you said many people using net don’t even know the word blog. It shows that more has to be done in creating awareness about blogging.

    Cheers!!

  2. Abrham Yohannes · November 10, 2011

    less than 20 bloggers in the country? How was the ‘census’ taken? I think this number only represents bloggers appearing on Ethiopian-blog. Except for the numbers I totally agree with your assessment and I am glad to see (perhaps) the first bog post on Ethiopian bloggers. Some one has to start a blog about blogging specifically designed for Ethiopia.

    Thanks for your contributions and effort to attract Ethiopians to the exciting world of blogging.

    • eweket · November 11, 2011

      Thanks Abraham, We made a research on different matrix. Including, using key words and such. SO it is a rough number. The number of bloggers can reach up to 60. so it was an average number of bloggers in the country. keep in mind that we made the research online and we only considered the following . 1) it should be a blogger from Ethiopia Blogging about Ethiopia 2) Enlgish blog.

      One thing probably we both agree is that the number of bloggers in Ethiopia. and Shockingly it doesn’t exceed two digits.

      I really enjoy your blog! Thanks for communicating again

      • sukersays · November 23, 2011

        Marksha,

        Love the article.

        One thing just popped into my mind though. I get it when you mean it has to be in English. But shouldn’t we all first define who our targets are?
        For example, if we are writing for the world population, then it should definitely be in English. If we are targeting just Ethiopians, we should write it in English given the facts and numbers of the educated people in Ethiopia. So I guess even in the Ethiopian-bloggers website, we have to kind of separate them into categories. If the general theme is “Ethiopia”, then we should have sections: English/Amharic. Then if they click English, you have another choice: Residing in Ethiopia/Diaspora. Then even include non-Ethiopians writing about Ethiopia… I think it’s a broader way to expose Ethiopia…

      • eweket · November 24, 2011

        Sara, i think for now, such categories are not that vital – We don’t have much bloggers in the first place to categorize under Amharic/ English languages. Yet, there should be bloggers with other local languages. So for now, networking the bloggers is the highest priority regardless the language – BUT for the research yes, we only considered because it wasn’t a comprehensive one!

        but i agree that in long term we should inhance the ethiopian-blog.com usability with different categories.

        how about french bloggers who blog from Ethiopia?

    • andthree · November 11, 2011

      cosign

      • andthree · November 15, 2011

        i meant cosign Abrham’s comment.

        Eweket’s clarification begs for some questions:

        • Why weren’t blogs written in local languages included?
        • Why weren’t blogs kept by the diaspora considered?
        • What does blogging about Ethiopia mean?

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  5. Jorn · November 16, 2011

    Actually, I would say, amharic or other language blogs are welcome on the aggregator and i don’t remember that was a criteria for exclusion at the beginning either – language was only something we have discussed when considering to include diaspora blogs in a separate section, because ethiopians in the diaspora might be blogging in german, hungarian, chinese, etc.

    If anyone knows any more blogs from resident ethiopians that are not included on the aggregator but wish to be, please let us know.

    • eweket · November 16, 2011

      @andthree: Please note that i was explaining about the research we made – not the ethiopian-blog.com aggregator.

      Like @Jorn explained in the Ethiopian-blog.com aggregator – any blog is welcome. We have a separate section for diaspora bloggers to make it a bit clear who is blogging inside the country and outside. We also want to encourage residence bloggers.

  6. Bruck · November 23, 2011
    • eweket · November 24, 2011

      Thanks Bruck, I will contact the bloggers if they are interested part of the ethiopian-blog.com community!!!

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  9. Elyas Mulu Kiros · December 3, 2011

    I cosign Andthree’s comment, and I have written about this topic before out of frustration, and here is the article: http://kweschn.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/bole-to-harlem-connecting-diaspora-and-local-bloggers/ … recently however, a website Hubesha.com, has resolved my frustration and they now offer an aggregator that displays blogs by Ethiopians (and any Habesha) from Everywhere! … and I encourage Ethiopian bloggers, in particular, to add your blogs on their website. That is the best way get connected, networked … i remain against any sort of exclusivity.

    • eweket · December 3, 2011

      Hubesh effort is quite great —
      Though you shouldnt be frustrated by the priority given to the residance bloggers at ethiopian-blog.com — thats the whole idea about it, to encourage people in ethiopia to write blog and raise their voices …

      we have already included the ethiopian bloggers who live overseas in a different catagory which i believe you also agree with. We also want to have the ethiopian bloggers logo added to the blogs… so that there is two ways communications… and the outcome is quite good…. the number of ethiopian bloggers have been doubled and increasing+

      lets going to prompt Ethiopian bloggers… doesnt matter where they are

      • Elyas Mulu Kiros · December 5, 2011

        Well, that is quite a change of mind, and am impressed!🙂 I remember I was even refused to get the logo, which I really liked and admired, and the reason for the refusal was that I am not a resident blogger!! That is not only frustrating, but infuriating, my friend, I felt like stripped of my Ethiopian nationality! lol Anyway, I forgive, but I won’t forget.😛

      • Elyas Mulu Kiros · December 7, 2011

        Hey🙂

        Something you may wanna look at: http://mvblogs.org/ … a Maldivian blog aggregator! It looks quite organized, and creative. And user-based nature of it is more appealing to me. That the programmers dont have to go hunting for blogs to add, that the bloggers can just link their blogs, and they are in. It also includes twitter feeds.🙂 I like it. … So I just thought u may be interested in looking at it.

      • Elyas Mulu Kiros · December 7, 2011

        I especially like what they wrote in their “about” section, quote:

        “mvblogosphere is an attempt to track, map and analyze the exponentially growing Maldivian blogopsphere, in order to draw a larger portrait of the social, cultural, political and economic structures they represent. mvblogosphere is also a venue to explore more information about blogging and what other Maldivians are blogging about, which in turn will help to strengthen the quality and quantity of the overall blog content, and may even revive some dormant blogs.”

  10. Robel Mekonnen · December 7, 2011

    Hi Markos,

    I Enjoyed your blogs very much. I am thinking about joining the Ethiopian bloggers community myself. Lot of stuff i need to get my chest off Bro.

    Though i am not knew to the concept of blogging, I have no clue on the technicality. So when i read you and John F. Nebel gave a training on blogging… I was like Man!! I should have been there.

    I am crossing my finger that I did not miss the December Session you mentioned on your post. So i was hoping if you can notify me the where and the when of the December Training.

    Thanks Bro!!!

    Robel M.

    • eweket · December 13, 2011

      Hi Mekonnen, Yes, we will have the blogging session at Dec 17. You can join us. send me your email and i will contact you asap

  11. David Kirba · December 14, 2011

    I’m just happy to be considered an Ethiopian blogger even though I’m technically not🙂

    How are you all doing by the way?

  12. eweket · December 18, 2011

    @David: I am great! Following your blogs….

  13. lily · February 21, 2012

    hi Markos,
    I say good start and defiantly expressing ideas through any means should be encouraged. As you mentioned it and I as witnessed it during the 1st training, most of the participants came from a background in journalism,PR and communications. However, to reach out to the mass and to promote bogging as one of the media to express and share ideologies and knowledge, you also need to target high-school and collage students.
    Then you actively include the real people (and the future generation) so that these things won’t remain the privilege to few.
    keep up the good work!

    • eweket · February 21, 2012

      You have great point here Lily. Uni students and highschoolers are the best candidate for content generation for main two reasons
      1. The informality of the information give a lot of diversity
      2. They are yet to build their jobs, and it is an easy gateway to join the working environment once they graduate.

      Thanks for dropping by!

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