According to a new GSMA study, more than half a billion people across Sub-Saharan Africa will be subscribed to a mobile service by the end of a decade.
The report titled ‘The Mobile Economy: Sub-Saharan Africa 2017’, was published at the GSMA Mobile 360 – Africa event. It forecasts that the number of unique mobile subscribers1 in Sub-Saharan Africa will grow from 420 million (43 per cent of the population) at the end of 2016 to 535 million (50 per cent of the population) in 2020, making it the fastest growing region in the world over this period. The report also highlights the Sub-Saharan Africa mobile ecosystem’s growing contribution to regional GDP, jobs, innovation and socio-economic development.
“Sub-Saharan 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. “Mobile is 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.”
Subscriber growth is expected to be concentrated in large, under-penetrated 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 in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.
The report further revealed that growth will also focus on currently under-represented segments such as the under-16 age group, which accounts for more than 40 per cent of the population in many countries, and women, who are currently 17 per cent less likely to have a mobile phone subscription than their male counterparts.