According to many site statistics such as StatCounter, Firefox ranks high as Ghana’s number 1 browser of choice, although choice really has little to do with it.
Ghana is considered a “Third World” country since many people here have lower incomes as compared to Western and European countries. Hence, many people in Ghana can’t afford personal computers of their own or private Internet access. This leaves many people in the country to have to visit cafes in order to have Internet access.
Ghana is also a predominantly a Microsoft OS using country and hence is plagued with Windows major problem – viruses. Most people can’t afford Antivirus subscriptions and hence have to use their PCs without them, leaving them at the mercy of the hordes of infestations on the net. This also pertains to all the cafes around as well.
About 5 years ago, the swarm of viral infestations grew exponentially and virtually no PC in this country was safe. Around that same time, IE6 was the predominant browser of choice for most basic Internet users, and for cafes, which usually ended up running a format of their systems atleast once a month to curtail the problem. Around that same time, Firefox had emerged as a suitable and viable alternative to IE6, since IE6 was the clear source of all the viral problems due to it lack of security features. The result was a mass transition by cafes to Firefox in order to curb the viral assault.
This proved useful, and the Firefox became a hit with many people and especially institutions with large computer installations such as Schools and Universities. One such Institution is KNUST, which has an ICT Center with over 200 computers all running Firefox. Almost all the cafes around the campus also run Firefox as their default browsers but a few still (surprisingly) run IE6/7 because they usually run Windows XP installations and it is such a pain to sit and wait for all of them to be fully updated with all the patches and fixes which also end up installing IE8. A few do perform manual installs of IE8 in order to be modern. With such a setup, it is easy to see why Firefox would rank quite high in the browser statistics and I don’t see this changing any time soon.
Other browsers do have acceptance especially among middle income earners who usually have their own computers, as can be seen the rapid rise and acceptance of Google Chrome. I personally am an Opera fan boy, and it saddens me when I see it have such a low up take here, simple because many people who have to visit cafes would hardly benefit from all it vast features like integrated email, IRC, etc which are usually targeted for people with personal browser usage.
My only advice to Mozilla is to work hard to provide the best user experience for their huge number of users here and across the globe. I patiently await the advent of Firefox 4.0