Africa online: 634 million people on the mobile network by 2025

African lady on phone
Compared to the global average, Sub-Saharan Africa lags behind in terms of mobile network penetration with a rate of only 44% (mobile network penetration refers to the percentage of the population that has a mobile phone and can connect to a network). However, this is set to change with an estimated 190 million new users predicted to come on-stream in the next 7 years.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, where fixed telecommunications infrastructure such as copper lines for landline telephony is scarce, mobile phone and data connections are heavily depended upon by the average citizen for everyday communications.

As the uptake of mobile connectivity begins to grow and approach the 50% mark (compared to a current global average of around 65% and a projected worldwide average exceeding 70% by 2025), one factor impeding its potential is the relative youthfulness of the Sub-Saharan population. With 40% of the region’s population under 16, affordability of services will be pivotal in ensuring the benefits of mobile connectivity are shared among the entire population. 

Valued at $110 billion in 2017 and employing around 3 million people, the mobile technologies sector in Sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to be worth $150 billion by 2022, a figure comprised not only of the sale of services to the end-user but also increased productivity made possible by greater interconnectivity.

As the market grows it represents exciting opportunities for both end-users and technology providers looking to expand into this relatively untapped area.

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