By David Musyoka NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile phone subscribers are expected to
surpass 500 million by the end of 2020, said a report launched on Tuesday by a
global association of mobile operators.
Association (GSMA) forecasts the number of unique mobile subscribers in ub-Saharan
Africa will grow from 420 million at the end of 2016 to 535 million in 2020,
making it the fastest growing region in the world over this period
Africa will be a key engine of subscriber growth for the world’s mobile industry
over the next few years as we connect millions of previously unconnected men,
women and young people across the continent,” said Mats Granryd, Director
General of the GSMA.
also offering sustainable solutions that address the lack of access to services
such as health, education, electricity, clean water and financial services,
which still affect large swathes of the population,” Granryd added.
report, “The Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa 2017” highlights the mobile
ecosystem’s growing contribution to the region’s GDP, job creation, innovation
and socio-economic development.
subscriber growth is expected to be concentrated in large, underpenetrated
markets such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Nigeria
and Tanzania, which together will account for half of the 115 million new
subscribers expected in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.
growth will also also focus on currently under-represented segments such as the
under-16 age group, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the population in
many countries, and women, who are currently 17 percent less likely to have a
mobile phone subscription than men.
GSMA, mobile is also a vital tool in delivering digital and financial inclusion
in Sub-Saharan Africa.
million people in the region now access the internet through mobile devices,
while the number of registered mobile money accounts has reached 280 million,”
It finds that
mobile operators and others are also leveraging the ubiquity of mobile networks
across the region to deliver services that are working towards achieving the UN
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in areas such as energy, water and
sanitation, healthcare, and education.
Sub-Saharan Africa transitions to higher levels of mobile engagement,
underpinned by growing access to mobile data services and smart devices, we are
seeing a flourishing mobile ecosystem emerge, supported by growing investments
by operators and others in mobile-focused start-ups and tech hubs,” Granryd
technologies and services generated 110 billion dollars of economic value in
Sub-Saharan Africa in 2016, equivalent to 7.7 percent of regional GDP, a figure
expected to grow to 142 billion dollars (8.6 percent of GDP) by 2020.
ecosystem also supported approximately 3.5 million jobs in the region last year,
and made a 13-billion-dollar contribution to the public sector in the form of
operators have invested 37 billion dollars in their networks over the past five
years, mainly to deploy new 3G/4G mobile broadband networks.
About a third
of mobile connections in region were running on mobile broadband networks at the
end of last year, forecast to rise to 60 percent by 2020.
networks, alongside rising smartphone adoption, are driving demand for digital
content and services.