GSMA, the Global Association for the mobile telecoms industry, has released a report that classifies Sub-Saharan Africa as the world’s fastest-growing mobile region. With an economy valued at more than $150 billion in 2018, the region is expected to maintain this position in the coming years.
This projection was done because Africa’s ever-growing young population is becoming mobile users for the first time. According to the report (The Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa 2019), more than 160 million of new unique mobile subscribers are projected to be added across the region by 2025, increasing the number of users by 44% to 623 million from 456 million figure recorded in 2018.
Drivers of this growth: With Nigeria’s current population, according to the United Nations standing at 201,117,815, and that of Ethiopia at 110,217,420, the GSMA statement sent to Nairametrics has identified these markets as potential sources of new users.
The Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA, Akinwale Goodluck, confirmed this in his statement. He mentioned how emerging younger generations of African origin will influence business transformation and technological adaptation.
“A new generation of youthful ‘digital natives’ across Sub-Saharan Africa are set to fuel customer growth and drive adoption of new mobile services that are empowering lives and transforming businesses.”
Goodluck further added that it is pertinent, however, that policymakers put in place measures to aid smooth technological transition early enough before the full break out.
“With mobile technology at the heart of Sub-Saharan Africa’s digital journey, it is essential for policymakers in the region to implement policies and best practices that ensure sustainable growth in the mobile industry, and enable the transition to next-generation mobile networks.”
What’s the big deal? To date, millions of jobs have been created as a ripple reaction to this upsurge, opening up opportunities for telecoms company. Aside its influence and contribution to the sum of tax accrued through this venture, experts envisage that (by 2023) this accenture will generate $185 billion, which will be equivalent to 9.1% of the region’s GDP.
Other key points of the report:
- Around 239 million people, equivalent to 23% of the region’s population, use the mobile internet on a regular basis.
- Smartphones accounted for 39% of mobile connections in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2018. This, according to forecast, will increase to two-thirds of connections by 2025.
- 3G will overtake 2G to become the leading mobile technology in Sub-Saharan Africa this year.
- 4G will account for almost one in four connections by 2025. However, 4G uptake is being dampened in some markets by the high cost of 4G devices and delays in assigning 4G spectrum.
- The region’s mobile operators are increasing investment in their networks and are expected to spend $60 billion (capex) on network infrastructure and services between 2018 and 2025 – almost a fifth of this total being invested in new 5G networks.
- Sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile ecosystem supports around 3.5 million jobs, directly and indirectly, and last year, contributed almost $15.6 billion to the funding of the public sector through consumer and operator taxes.
About the GSMA: The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators and nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.