| August 06, 2019
As per the annual report released by global digital agencies. Africa has observed the fastest growth rates in internet penetration. with the increase in the number of internet users across the continent elevating by more than 20% in comparison to 2017.
More than half of the world’s population is now online. Let’s have a glance at some of the key findings.
The growth of internet users in Africa is mainly driven by affordable smartphones (like Mara Phones) and mobile data plans.
The reported numbers of internet users in Mali are increasing by almost six times since January 2017.
The number of internet users in Sierra Leone, Benin, Mozambique, and Niger has grown doubled over the past year too.
Lower smartphone prices like Mara phones offering are driving a digital revolution in Africa, enabling mobile users to access the internet incredible pace.
Developers and operators are also leveraging the power of mobile networks to transform services in agriculture, education, health, energy, and water management at unprecedented levels.
The smartphone connections have doubled over the last two year across the continent of Africa, reaching 226 million. As per the GSMA report on Africa’s mobile economy, the prices have dropped on an average of $230 in 2012 to $160 in 2015.
The growth in smartphone use is pushing companies to develop new products to boost their user base that would help tackle social challenges facing local communities. Across Africa, more than half a billion people are subscribed to mobile services, and it is expected to increase by 725 million users by 2020; the monthly data usage will grow to 4.3 GB.
As per the GSMA reports, the growth of the mobile industry is useful for investors and government contributing to the economic value of the continent’s GDP. Its direct and indirect contribution to job opportunities is significant.
The mobile technology is going through an incredible period of change according to trade body the GSMA. Looking ahead, the mobile landscape evolution in the region reveal the following key predictions:
To reach the rural people, the report observes: “for operators, the revenue is around 10th of the urban areas, with the low purchasing power of most rural people. And, the power and taxes account up to 60% of the price (for providing mobile broadband at rural region).
Subscription and data packs must cater to the needs of the general people. Also, the handsets of consumers should be widely available. The mobile and the internet have to be made more affordable to drive expected growth.
Government policies play a key role in this industry. It must drive digital information exchange, including the digital economy in the process.
Creating grounds (or generate need) among the people to get more connected. Tech organizations in Africa are gradually expanding the global market using minimal data, products like Facebook Messenger Lite, Facebook Lite, Google Go, Twitter Lite, and many. They are affordable and fast in use. The opportunities in the region to offer better mobile services (inclusive of mobile payment services in different language and culture) should be promoted and adopted by the government and the organizations.
The organizations and the government of Africa must consider incentivizing investment and its expansion in the mobile industry further. The stakeholders also need to come forward and work together, analyzing the cost of development.
For instance, the infrastructure sharing, mutual resource sharing, and disbursement, cost, etc. are the core elements of such collaboration and its planning. It is to be seen as a contributing activity for the mutual growth of the people of Africa.
The effective planning and use of spectrum is another vital point worth considering. It includes harnessing wavelength presently being used for the core services like tax reform, analog TV, and many such policies. Such consideration will boost and encourage operator investment. One of the critical strategic investment (of the government fund) support training, enhance mobile connectivity, uplift local content provision, and migrate to m-governance. It cannot be overlooked if continent aspires to become digital Africa.
The joint effort is needed with continuous effort and investment of the government, industry, and the people of Africa. Deploying digital payment methods, like unified payments interface (UPI), mobile wallets, digital point of sale (digital POS), mobile point of sale (mPOS), etc. can encourage the growth of mobility and the continent to enlarge. Africa is moving towards creating a digital economy with the significant adoption of smartphone and devices. It will benefit the government and people in various ways like increasing revenues, empowering people, etc. The cumulative effort will enhance information, skills, technology, and others with a positive impact on the millions of lives across the region. There are already promising signs in place depicting the happening changes. But the size and challenge cannot be underestimated. Hence, continuous efforts are worth considering for retaining the growth in future as well.