The social media population in Ethiopia is rapidly growing with the highest concentration in Addis Ababa. According to Facebook the online population of active users is reported to be 3.5-4million people per month throughout the whole country. These numbers almost match the internet penetration percentage of Ethiopia at 4.2% according to Internet Live Stats (2016). With technology advancing and a wider accessibility to smartphones, Ethiopia is receiving its dose of social networking and advancing quickly on other platforms.

In this spirit, we decided to share with you one of the more exciting platforms that we see growing in Ethiopia which is Instagram. The photo-sharing platform has brought out the utmost creativity in this market in various fields. We’ve compiled a list of popular categories on Instagram and mentioned some of the key movers and shakers in those categories.

Food

A cool trend that seems to be breaking out on Instagram, particularly in Addis Ababa, has been featuring a catalogue of different meals around the city. Currently, a lot of new food spots have been opening up in Addis offering a wide variety of cuisines, but in true Ethiopian form, finding a new restaurant has always been through verbal word of mouth and personal testimonies.

Taken from @sheger_gebeta Instagram.

Now, pages like @Sheger_Gebeta and @DineOut_Addis are quickly becoming a favored source of promoting restaurants, their different dishes, and their listed prices to help you to find the right spot to dine.

Taken from @dineout_addis Instagram

Their source of content comes from sharing other users posts, aside from their own, which is a well-developed strategy seeing as though many Instagram users like documenting their favorite meals.

Photography

As Instagram is known for its photos, the photographers based in Ethiopia are unique and beautifully demonstrating their perspectives through breathtaking visual stories. Most photos of Ethiopia that are circulated around the world originate from outside perspectives and more often than not highlight the more common angles of Ethiopia (historical landmarks, religious holidays, portraits of people from different regions). However, Instagram for many Ethiopian photographers, is their platform where they are able to show their own realities and dive deeper into the culture, the tradition, and the stories of the people with a significantly more personalized viewpoint.

While there are many people to mention in this category, we’ve selected two that we’ve been following for quite some time. @GboxCreative is best known for his work Moving Shadows, where he captures the daily commute in Ethiopia while graphically placing colorful backgrounds behind the walkers. He isolates the individuals as a way to focus on their journey while portraying the daily grind and heartbeat of the hard working people.

Taken from @gboxcreative Instagram

With a following of 25.9K followers, Berta has received many accolades for his photography including the Getty Images Instagram Award 2016 and most recently he was selected for the New York Times Portfolio Review.

Taken from @StreetsOfAddis Instagram

Berta is also responsible for creating a mighty cool Instagram account by the name of @StreetsOfAddis where you can find a curated collection of street photos of the bustling Addis Ababa city. What’s more exciting about this account is that it promotes local photographers who each have their own way of documenting their daily street observations.

@eyerusalem_a_jiregna is another visual storyteller that mixes in portrait and travel photography as she journeys to the farthest corners of Ethiopia. She has a passion for closely documenting different people and their daily habits and ways of life.

Taken from @eyerusalem_a_jiregna Instagram.

Her photos amplify the colorful tones of her surroundings which gives her images an effortless glow in the places she travels to. Jiregna was featured on Instagram’s account where they shared many of her photos and stories to their followership of over 200+ million.

Habesha Themed

One trend that’s growing in the digital Ethiopia-sphere are the “Habesha” accounts that uniquely uplift and promote Habesha people through different themes on social media. One of the main accounts is @HabeshaTakeover with a following of 53.6K.

Taken from @HabeshaTakeover Instagram

Based in the U.S., this page still has a large influence in the Ethiopian Instagram market as they consistently share stories, and images of positive examples of people in the Habesha community doing innovative and notable things around the world. It’s quickly becoming a central source to find the latest trending news when it comes to anything Habesha. Within this theme, however, you’ll begin to find many other accounts focusing on specific themes such as @HabeshaCreative, @TravelHabesha, and @OpenHabeshaLove.

Fashion

With fashion as a booming sector in Ethiopia there are many current designers in utilizing social media for sharing their clothing lines. Amidst designers using their platforms to showcase their clothes, we’re seeing young stylists using their platforms to promote their niche skills. One in particular is @Foooziya with 43.5K followers.

Taken from @foooziya Instagram.

She uses her platform as a fashion blogger and in particular as a “Hijabi style influencer” creating short tutorials of new ways to style tradition looks of the hijab. This influencer-model is quite popular in other parts of the world and we’re looking forward as to how she further develops her brand.

Graphics

Designers in different mediums are using Instagram as their personal portfolio. One designer in particular is beginning to change the way we see ourselves, through emojis. @JayINeedArts is a graphic designer who has been building a brand for himself by designing fun and relatable emojis for the Ethiopian population to use through their social media engagements.

Taken from @JayINeedArts Instagram.

These emojis reflect cultural and colloquial trends with common phrases and jokes. In addition, they are most highly used during specific seasons like holidays and graduation with cool celebratory graphics. You can find his emojis through apps like Telegram as well, and we promise you won’t be disappointed.

Comedy

The last category in our list of trends is one of our favorites when it comes to entertainment through Instagram. Seeing quick yet comical content related to the Ethiopian cultural is becoming a highly exposed category with one of the biggest influencers being @babi_ethio_tomi or “Pastor Tomas” as he’s most well-known.

Taken from @babi_ethio_tomi Instagram

His comedy is well-loved and most viewed as he shares videos capturing his different personalities, his quick-wit captions, and his high energetic expressions. He’s building a fast growing brand and is only becoming stronger as his Instagram followers grow.

As you can see there are many different ways and avenues that Instagram is coming to life in Ethiopia and we’re thrilled to see so many creative people sharing their unique skills and talents. The trends are exciting and will hopefully inspire more users to live out their passion through social media. We look forward to how these leaders will begin to shape the social media landscape of this market. We know there are plenty more of other Instagrammers based in Ethiopia who are creatively using this platform, so please share their accounts with us!