When I published the inaugural Facebook Usage in the Middle East and North Africa report last year, I knew Facebook usage would continue to skyrocket, but even I could not predict that it would occur as such a blistering pace.

This explosive growth is due to a number of factors including the rise of the Social Consumer, the emergence of Social Business as well as the regional Social Media Revolutions.

Facebook usage growth in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

Facebook usage growth in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

This updated report outlines the volume of Facebook usage across the region and how it has changed from 1 year ago. While the report contains all the details, here are some key takeaways that I would like to share with you.



51% increase in Facebook usage across the Middle East & North Africa
More than 19 Million people joined Facebook in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) over the last year, which represents an increase of 51%, pushing the total number of users to over 56 Million This is a tremendous level of growth.



Arabic Facebook usage climbs by 5.8 Million users
The number of people using Facebook in the Arabic language increase by over 5.8 Million users, compared to 2.1 Million users for English and 3.1 Million users for French. At this rate, the number of Arabic Facebook users will surpass the number of English Facebook users by the end of 2011!



The UAE leads Facebook adoption across the region
The United Arab Emirates is the leading nation in terms of Facebook adoption at a whopping 48.7% of the population! The overall average Facebook penetration in the MENA region is 16%. This means that the UAE has an adoption rate of 3 times the average.



Over 100% increase in Facebook users in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen
A number of countries experienced colossal rates of growth of Facebook users, with Iraq leading the pack at 317.5%. While the absolute number of Facebook users is still relatively low in many of these countries, the rate of growth indicates the speed at which these nations are coming on board.



Facebook usage declines in Libya and Qatar
Initially I was shocked by these numbers and thought it was a computational error, but then realized that these declines are due to governmental censorship in Libya and Qatar.