New GSMA Study: Mobile Powering Economic Growth and Job Creation Across West Africa

West Africa’s Mobile Economy Valued at More Than $50 Billion in 2018

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire–(BUSINESS WIRE)–West Africa’s mobile ecosystem generated more than $50 billion in
economic value last year – equivalent to 8.7 per cent of the region’s GDP1,
according to a new GSMA study. The 2019 West Africa edition of the
GSMA’s Mobile Economy report series is published at the ‘Mobile 360 –
West Africa’ event being held in Abidjan this week. The study finds that
rising mobile phone ownership and the ongoing migration to mobile
broadband networks and services across the region will see the mobile
ecosystem’s economic contribution continue to increase over the coming
years, forecast to reach almost $70 billion (9.5 per cent of GDP) by
2023.

“Today’s report underlines the vital role the mobile ecosystem is
playing in contributing to economic growth, social development and job
creation across West Africa,” said Akinwale Goodluck, Head of
Sub-Saharan Africa at the GSMA. “To harness the power of a new
generation of mobile users and mobile networks, we urge governments and
policymakers in West Africa to develop regulatory frameworks that
encourage innovation and investment in the sector, enabling the
provision of mobile-powered digital services to citizens across the
region.”

The new report reveals that:

  • The number of unique mobile subscribers2 across West Africa
    reached 185 million at the end of 2018, equivalent to 48 per cent of
    the region’s population. This number is forecast to rise to 248
    million by 2025, 54 per cent of the population.
  • Future subscriber growth will largely be driven by young consumers
    owning a mobile phone for the first time; more than 40 per cent of the
    region’s population are under 18 years old, according to the report.
  • 3G will overtake 2G to become the leading mobile technology in West
    Africa this year, supporting about half of the region’s mobile
    connections3. 4G momentum is also building: ten new 4G
    networks have recently launched in West Africa, including the first
    ever 4G networks in Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Togo.
  • Local mobile operators are increasing investment in their networks and
    are expected to spend $8.5 billion (capex) on network infrastructure
    and services over the next two years (2019/2020).
  • West Africa’s mobile ecosystem directly employs around 200,000 people,
    supports 800,000 jobs in the informal employment sector, and a further
    600,000 jobs across the wider economy.
  • Mobile is the primary platform for accessing the internet in West
    Africa; at the end of 2018, there were around 100 million mobile
    internet users in the region, up almost 20 million year-on-year.

The new report ‘The Mobile Economy, West Africa 2019’ is authored
by GSMA
Intelligence
, the research arm of the GSMA. To access the full
report and related infographics, please visit: https://www.gsma.com/r/mobileeconomy/west-africa/

-ENDS-

About the GSMA

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting
more than 750 operators and nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile
ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies,
equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in
adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces the industry-leading
MWC events held annually in Barcelona, Los Angeles and Shanghai, as well
as the Mobile 360 Series of regional conferences.

For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com.
Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.

1 GDP contribution comprises mobile operators (1.8% of GDP);
related industries (0.5%); indirect contribution (0.5%); and
productivity improvements (5.9%).

2 A unique mobile subscriber represents an individual that
can account for multiple SIM connections.

3 There were 328 million SIM connections West Africa at the
end of 2018, excluding cellular IoT, forecast to rise to 442 million by
2025.

Contacts

Media Contacts:
David Ntwampe Maila
+ 27 72 015 4702
dmaila@webershandwick.com

Beau
Bass
+44 79 7662 4962
beau.bass@webershandwick.com

GSMA
Press Office
pressoffice@gsma.com