Nigeria’s Twitter is into its third day, and discussions around it have not abated. A lot of the analysis has focused on the government’s stance and the possible infringement on the rights of Nigerians that this situation entails.
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But there’s more to be said about how the ban will affect the country’s economy. Business earnings are being impacted, severely, in some cases. We published an article about how all of this could pan out. You can read that article here.
It’s also worth reflecting on how much money Nigeria is losing due to the ban. We’ll take a look at that here. Let’s begin by examining how much business actually happens on Nigerian Twitter.
The Business That’s Done By Nigerians On Twitter
According to an NOI Polls report, about 39.6 million Nigerians are on Twitter—that’s 20% of the country’s population. That report also says that 20% of this crowd uses Twitter for business purposes (marketing, customer care, and other customer engagement). And 18% seek out employment opportunities on the site.
A further 13% advertise products and services on Twitter. It’s easy to see why they would. About 19% of Twitter users report that they use the app or website for an average of 10 hours or more a day. That’s more than other social media sites have mustered. It’s the sort of attention that any business would like to attract.
Another 77% say that they are on the platform for between 1 and 3 hours daily.
The Nigerian population on Twitter is diverse. Of the large audience mentioned earlier, 30% are self-employed or traders. 13% are artisans, and 7% are professional workers. Many of these people showcase their trade, engage sellers on the site, or share information that’s relevant to their professional concerns.
If these numbers mean anything, it’s that Twitter has been a space for business, just as much as it has been for getting the latest news, sports, and entertainment updates.
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How would a government ban affect this business?
The Money Lost Due To The Twitter Ban
First, let’s look at what we’re currently losing to the ban.
NetBlocks, an international internet monitor, Nigeria lost more than ₦2 billion ($6 million) to the shutdown within its first 24 hours alone. A widely quoted update from them suggested that the country was losing revenues at the rate of ₦90.7 million ($256,600) per hour.
If true, these numbers signify significant losses for the country, at a time in which the government is trying to get the economy running. Ironically, the government could be stifling the country’s growth by its actions.
This isn’t idle talk!
In our last article about the Twitter shutdown, we noted that it could impact the Nigerian startup community’s ability to raise funds—especially funding from abroad. In 2019, Nigerian startups attracted an impressive $377 million in investments and $120.6 million in 2020 (down due to the COVID-19 pandemic).
But startups’ ability to garner financial support may be hampered going forward, due to perceived policy and regulatory risks. If investors believe that the government could switch rules at the slightest chance, they will move their money elsewhere. Investors detest uncertain policy environments. The Twitter ban reeks of it.
So, there’s a danger that in the long term, Nigeria could lose much more money (we can’t speculate what it will be) due to the poor external perception that’s been created by the Twitter ban.
Stakeholders can only hope that their worst fears go unrealized. This would require the speedy resolution of the Twitter ban, and government moves to restore broken trust.
Featured Image Source: Nairametrics
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Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.