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.
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“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,” said Akinwale Goodluck, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa at the GSMA.
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.
The report also revealed that 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).
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