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

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

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 43: Jewel Burks
Partpic founder and CEO Jewel Burks discusses how she developed an idea to streamline the purchase, repair and maintenance of parts. Partpic was acquired by Amazon in 2018.

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.