Africa: Internet economy to hit US$180 billion in 2025

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  • The report reveals that investors are forecasting strong growth in the value of Africa’s internet economy, with mobile phones propelling the expansion.
  • Twenty-five per cent of investor managers expects Africa’s internet industry to increase by 51 per cent in the next three years.
  • Ninety-seven per cent of all professional investors believe that the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the demand for mobile phones.

A report by World Mobile, a blockchain-based mobile network operator, shows that the value of Africa’s internet economy is projected to more than double to over US$180 billion by 2025 from the current estimated US$115 billion. Professional investors attribute the expected potential growth to be anchored by the eased access of mobile phones in the continent.

The report reveals that investors are forecasting strong growth in the value of Africa’s internet economy, with mobile phones propelling the expansion. By 2020, 495 million people subscribed to mobile services in Sub-Saharan Africa, representing 46% of the region’s population.

Increased use of mobile phones will be crucially central to the growth of the internet industry enhanced by improved production and affordability of these devices from countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, India, China, Germany, among others.

Read: African gaming industry generates US$590 million in revenues

Another study by PureProfile, an advertising agency company, surveyed investors responsible for around US$700 billion assets under management. The results showed that twenty-five per cent of investor managers expect Africa’s internet industry to increase by 51 per cent in the next three years.

Over 71 per cent of professional investors expect the affordability of mobile phones in Africa to improve by 2025. Currently, the mobile phone economy accounts for an average of 6.8 per cent of monthly incomes. Ninety-seven per cent of all professional investors believe that the Coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the demand for mobile phones.

World Mobile is compounding its unique hybrid mobile network supported by low altitude platform balloons in Zanzibar, which it plans to roll out throughout the continent. The company is already in discussions with government officials in Tanzania, Kenya, and other territories underserviced by traditional mobile operators.

World Mobile will be the first to launch balloons in Africa for commercial use officially. They will provide a more cost-effective way to provide digital connection to people and bring over  4 billion people online before 2030, in line with the United Nations and World Bank’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Read: Africa: Mobile gaming, cryptos fastest growing globally

Micky Watkins, Chief Executive Officer of World Mobile, said that professional investors see the opportunities presented to the African internet community and expect mobile phones to play a central role in driving the economy forward.

Online banking and shopping. Africa has a booming digital sector and governments should encourage the spreading of digital technologies to grow their economies. [Photo/Pexel]
“Affordability is key to the increasing adoption of mobile phones, but none of it is achievable without connectivity,” Micky Watkins said. “We want to help create a world where everyone can access affordable connectivity, a world where economic freedom is a truth and a world where people can jump on the opportunities that the internet creates.”

Professional investors surveyed by World Mobile believe healthcare is the sector that will benefit the most from increased connectivity. Nearly 53 per cent of the professional investors highlighted the opportunities of e-commerce to the healthcare sector.

E-commerce would grow the media sector by 42 per cent and the entertainment sector by 40 per cent. Education would also improve by 33 per cent, while finance would walk away with a 34 per cent improvement.

The World Mobile outlook is more sustainable in social, environmental, and governance terms. Environmental impacts of internet connectivity are mitigated using solar-powered nodes, second-life batteries, and energy-efficient technology.

World Mobile creates a positive societal impact by applying its circular economy model dubbed as a “sharing economy” where local citizens share in the ownership and rewards of the company’s network. Governance of World Mobile is maintained by the secure underlying blockchain technology, which guarantees user data privacy and is not commercially applied by other mobile operators.

World Mobile will help improve mobile phone connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa and enable Africans to capitalize on the employment opportunities presented through the internet. This will help curb the unemployment that is rampant in the continent.

In 2020, the unemployment rate in Sub-Saharan Africa was at 6.63 per cent.

Read: Propelling Africa’s Aviation sector to greater heights  

I am a journalist who is an enthusiastic tech, business and investment news writer from across Africa. There is always something good happening in Africa but most gets lost in the stereotypes. I tell the stories that matter to the Africans for Africa. Have a tip? You can contact me at j.kangethe@theexchange.africa

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