MORE than half the population of Sub-Saharan Africa will be subscribed to a mobile service by 2025.
This is according to the GSMA’s Mobile Economy report series, published at the GSMA ‘Mobile 360 – Africa’ event ongoing in Kigali, Rwanda.
The new report forecasts that there will be 634 million unique subscribers across Sub-Saharan Africa by 2025, equivalent to 52 percent of the population. This is up from 444 million (44 percent) at the end of last year.
The report also calculates that the mobile ecosystem will add more than $150 billion in value to Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy by 2022, equivalent to almost 8 percent of regional gross domestic product (GDP).
“For many citizens across the region, particularly those living in rural areas, a cellphone is not just a communications device but also the primary channel for getting online and a vital tool for improving their lives,” commented John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer at the GSMA.
“More needs to be done to extend connectivity to the remaining unconnected and underserved populations across Sub-Sahara Africa, but this will require a focus on long-term industry sustainability that can only be achieved through investment-friendly policies and supportive regulatory frameworks.”
Sub-Saharan Africa has been the world’s fastest-growing mobile region in recent years but subscriber growth is slowing as the industry faces the challenges of affordability and a youthful population.
The region’s current cellphone penetration rate (44 percent of the population) is significantly below the global average of 66 percent.
According to the World Bank, around 40 percent of the population in the region is under the age of 16, a demographic segment that has significantly lower levels of mobile ownership than the population as a whole.
Last year, mobile technologies and services accounted for 7,1 per cent of GDP across Sub-Saharan Africa, a contribution that amounted to $110 billion of economic value added.
By 2022, the region’s mobile economy is forecast to generate more than $150 billion (7,9 per cent of GDP) of economic value as countries continue to benefit from improvements in productivity and efficiency, particularly due to the increase in mobile internet adoption.
– CAJ News