Half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s Population to Be Connected to Mobile by 2025


GSMA has published some interesting numbers in its Mobile Economy report. The statistics were revealed at the GSMA Mobile 360 – Africa event that is still taking place in Kigali, Rwanda.

According to the edition, more than half the population of Sub-Saharan Africa will be subscribed to a mobile service by 2025. This translates to about 634 million unique mobile subscribers or 52 percent of the population. It will be a notable jump from 444 million (44 percent) that was recorded in 2017.

The mobile ecosystem is also said to add more than $50 billion in value to Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy by 2022, equivalent to almost 8 percent of the regional GDP.

“For many citizens across the region, particularly those living in rural areas, a mobile phone is not just a communications device but also the primary channel for getting online and a vital tool for improving their lives,” commented John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer at the GSMA. “More needs to be done to extend connectivity to the remaining unconnected and underserved populations across Sub-Sahara Africa, but this will require a focus on long-term industry sustainability that can only be achieved through investment-friendly policies and supportive regulatory frameworks.”

While the region has registered the world’s fastest growth in the adoption of mobile technology, the ascent has started to taper off as the industry faces challenges of affordability and a youthful population. For instance, the region still lags behind in terms of penetration rate that stands at 44 percent of the population that below the global average of 66 percent. Also, 40 percent of the population are under the age 16, a demographic that has markedly lower levels of mobile ownership than the entire population.

Undeterred by these problems, the adoption of smartphones is unsurprisingly high thanks to their pocket-friendly pricing. The adoption has accelerated migration to 3G/LTE mobile broadband networks and services. The report says that mobile broadband will constitute 87percent of mobile connection by 2025 in the same region. Also, nearly 300 million people are expected to get access to internet services using smart handhelds by the time the century a quarter mark.

“Sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile industry is showing strong progress in achieving the targets of the SDGs, predominantly through increased connectivity and access to information, but also through the delivery of services, such as mobile money, that increase productivity, improve well-being and reduce poverty,” added Giusti.

The full report can be read here.