The economic contribution of the mobile ecosystem in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) would increase in both relative and absolute terms, contributing $150 billion to the Sub-Saharan Africa economy by 2022, up from $110 billion in 2017.
According to The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan 2018 report just released by the intelligence unit of GSM Association (GSMA), mobile would drive an impact of 7.9 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2022, up from 7.1 per cent in 2017.
The study said most of this value added increase would be due to productivity gains, which would increase from $60 billion in 2017 to more than $90 billion by 2022. Productivity growth would be mostly driven by the adoption of mobile internet services; penetration is expected to reach 34 per cent over the same period.
The mobile ecosystem supported almost 3 million jobs in 2017. In addition to the impact on the economy and labour market, the mobile sector also makes a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with almost $14 billion raised in 2017, taking into account general taxation as well as sector-specific on the consumption of mobile services.
Future growth opportunities would increasingly be concentrated in rural and low-ARPU markets, as well as younger demographic groups. World Bank data indicates that around 40 per cent of the population in the region are under the age of 16, a demographic segment that has significantly lower levels of mobile ownership than the population as a whole.
Unique mobile subscriber penetration in Sub-Saharan Africa stood at 44 per cent at the end of 2017, still well below the global average of 66 per cent. The subscriber base in the region totalled 444 million, equivalent to around nine per cent of subscribers globally.
The regional subscriber base would grow at a CAGR of 4.8 per cent for the period 2017–2022, more than double the global growth rate over the same period. The penetration rate is forecast to reach the 50 per cent level by the end of 2023, and 52 per cent by 2025.
Also, 3G would emerge as the dominant technology in the region over the next few years, accounting for 60 per cent of Sub-Saharan Africa’s connections by the end of 2025. GSMA Intelligence forecasts the first commercial 5G services to be launched in the region by 2021, with 5G connections accounting for 2.6 per cent of the total connections base by 2025.
Meanwhile, smartphone adoption continues to see rapid growth in the region, albeit from a relatively low base and despite affordability challenges. The total number of smartphone connections stood at 250 million at the end of 2017, equivalent to around a third of the total connections base.
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