By Rabiyat Usman, with Agency Report:
A new report entitled ‘‘The Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa 2017,’’ has indicated that more than 500-million people across sub-Saharan Africa will be subscribed to a mobile service by the end of the decade.
The report which was published by GSMA intelligence recently, forecasts that the number of unique mobile subscribers in sub-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.
According to the report sub-Saharan Africa accounts for nearly one-tenth of the global mobile subscriber base and subscriber numbers in the region are expected to grow faster than in all other regions over the next five years.
“The mobile industry plays an increasingly important role in the social and economic development of the region. Mobile connectivity has become the main platform for innovationand the driving force for greater inclusion, while the mobile ecosystem, including mobile network operators and device vendors, contributes significantly to economic growth and jobs,” the report noted.
Pointing out that the region will be a key engine of subscriber growth for the world’s mobile industry over the next few years.
“The mobile industry is also offering sustainable solutionsthat 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,” GSMA director-general Mats Granryd said in a statement.
Subscribers growth according to the report, is expected to be concentrated in large, underpenetrated markets such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania, which together will account for half of the 115-million new subscribers expected to be added in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.
Growth it added, will also focus on currently under-represented segments such as the under-16 age group, which accounts for more than 40% of the population in many countries, and women, who are currently 17% more likely to have a mobile phone subscription than their male counterparts.
“Mobile is also a vital tool in delivering digital and financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa. Around 270-million people in the region now access the Internet through mobile devices, while the number of registered mobile money accounts has reached 280-million.”
Mobile technologies and services generated $110-billion of economic value in sub-Saharan Africa in 2016, equivalent to 7.7% of regional gross domestic product – a figure that is expected to grow to $142-billion by 2020.
The mobile ecosystem also directly and indirectly supported about 3.5-million jobs in the region last year and made a $13-billion contribution to the public sector in the form of taxation.
Statistics by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), shows that as at May 2017, there are 242,885,029 connected lines and 145,350,702 active lines.