GSMA released their report titled The Mobile Economy Africa 2016. The report talked of the fledgling mobile industry in the African continent while at the same time giving insight on the future direction. According to the report, half of Africa’s population subscribe to mobile services, totaling to over 500 Million users. The report places Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa as leaders in terms of number of subscribers,which accounted for a third of the total subscriber base. The report states that Africa will over the next 4 years add 168 Million new subscribers of mobile services bringing the number to 725 Million by 2020 while mobile penetration will rise to 54%.
According to the report, Subscribers across Africa are increasingly migrating to mobile broadband services, driven by network roll outs. Mobile broadband connections accounted for a quarter of total connections at the end of 2015, but will rise to almost two-thirds by 2020. The number of smartphone users has hit 226 million with strong uptake in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
With increasing connectivity, mobile has begun to play an important role in economic development. The report notes that mobile technologies and services contributed 6.7% of Africa’s GDP, with an economic value of % $150 Billion. The mobile ecosystem supported 3.8 million jobs in 2015 including workers directly employed in the ecosystem and jobs indirectly supported by the sector. The result of this was a contribution of $17 Billion in the form of taxation to the public sector.
GSMA says mobile will continue to play an even more significant role going forward. The report predicts that by 2020,mobile will contribute 7.6% to African economies with an economic value of $210 Billion. The number of jobs supported will increase to 4.5 million by 2020, while the tax contribution to the public sector for $20.5 Billion. Mobile operators will also be direct beneficiaries of these growing interconnections with revenues growing from the current 53.5 Billion to 61.3 Billion by 2020.