NEWS10 November 2014

Sub-Saharan Africa sees fastest mobile growth

Middle East and Africa Technology

SOUTH AFRICA — Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest growing region in the world for mobile connectivity, with subscribers expected to reach half a billion by 2020, according to a new report.

There were 329 million unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa at the end of June 2014, which is equivalent to 38% of the region’s total population, according to the GSMA (Groupe Speciale Mobile Association) report.

This unique subscriber base is forecast to grow by 7% per year to 2020, to reach just over half a billion and account for 49% of the population. By this point the region will have overtaken Europe to become the world’s second-largest mobile market after Asia Pacific.

“The mobile industry has transformed the lives of millions of people across Sub-Saharan Africa, providing not just connectivity but also an essential gateway to a wide range of healthcare, education and financial services,” said Anne Bouverot, Director General of the GSMA. “As today’s report shows, millions of additional citizens in the region will become mobile subscribers over the next six years, with many being able to access the internet for the first time via low-cost smartphones and mobile broadband networks.”

The Sub-Saharan Africa region includes 46 countries in total; the six largest markets, in order of size, are Nigeria, South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, which together account for over half of the region’s unique mobile subscriber base.

The full findings can be accessed here.