Sub-Saharan Africa Leads In Mobile Growth




The GSMA today published its latest comprehensive study of the socio-economic impact of the mobile industry in Sub-Saharan Africa. The report, “Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2013”, developed by GSMA Intelligence, reveals that mobile contributes over six per cent of the region’s GDP, higher than any other comparable region globally, and this is forecast to rise to over eight per cent by 20201. Last year, the mobile ecosystem directly supported 3.3 million jobs and contributed US $21 billion to public funding in the region, including licence fees. By 2020, mobile is set to double its economic effect, employing 6.6 million men and women in the region and contributing US $42 billion to public funding.


Sub-Saharan Africa’s unique mobile subscriber base has grown by 18 per cent annually over the last five years, making it the fastest growing region globally. By mid-2013, there were 253 million unique mobile subscribers and 502 million connections.

With many countries in the region seeing fixed line penetration rates of less than five per cent, mobile has emerged as the main medium for accessing the internet across Sub-Saharan Africa. While 2G connections still dominate in the region, 3G and 4G networks are gaining scale and smartphone ownership is on the rise. With unique subscriber penetration rates still less than 33 per cent, this opens up a major opportunity for growth in the next five years – in the areas of spending on VAS, better smartphones, tablets and on mobile apps and games. Commerce sites like benefit from this if the opportunity is capitalized upon.

The report has been formulated by GSMA, a group of 800 mobile operators and with 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, spanning across 220 countries. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress and Mobile Asia Expo.