Sub-Saharan Africa’s Mobile Economy Is Worth $150B

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Written by Peter Pedroncelli
mobile economy
Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to experience sustained growth in the next six years. Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Sub-Saharan Africa is the fastest-growing region globally for mobile subscribers, with the mobile economy forecast to generate almost $185 billion by 2023.

With increased use of mobile services, Africa’s mobile operators are investing more in their networks, leading to improvements in productivity and efficiency, according to a report from GSMA.

There are 456 million unique mobile subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa, with 160 million subscribers expected by 2025 – a 4.6 percent compound annual growth rate.

Africa’s mobile economy continuing to grow

That will make sub-Saharan Africa the fastest-growing mobile user base in the world.

Recent data shows that the mobile ecosystem across sub-Saharan Africa generated almost $150 billion in economic value in 2018 – equivalent to 8.6 percent of the region’s GDP, according to the GSMA study.

That is expected to grow to $185 billion by 2023, ITNewsAfrica reports.

By comparison, the North American mobile economy was worth $833 billion in 2017, which represented a 4 percent contribution to the region’s GDP.

Adding North Africa to the sub-Saharan picture would make for a better comparison, but research on North Africa is combined with the Middle East.

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The Middle East North African mobile economy was worth $165 billion in 2017, and it is expected to see the second-fastest growth figures after sub-Saharan Africa in the coming years.

Mobile operators in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to spend around $60 billion on network infrastructure and services between 2018 and 2025 as the mobile economy supports more than 3.5 million jobs in the sector, Telecomlead reports.