Network infrastructure investment continues, with annual spend increasing from $9bn in 2014 to $13.6bn in 2020. By 2020, 6 million jobs will be supported by the region’s mobile ecosystem, growing from 4.4 million in 2015. All this is crucial to the growing momentum of Sub-Saharan technology innovation, as incubators and accelerators continue to spring up locally.
Mobile technology plays a central role in addressing a range of socio-economic developmental challenges across the region, particularly digital and financial inclusion. Greater digital inclusion will drive economic and infrastructure development, increasing productivity and employment across the economy, and will improve access to vital services such as education and healthcare.
However, by the end of this decade, 60% of the Sub-Saharan population will still lack internet access. Given the high levels of poverty and large proportion of the population living in rural areas, improving the affordability of mobile services and extending network coverage to rural areas are particular challenges. This is where the region’s policy-makers and regulators can have a positive impact on the ongoing vibrancy of the mobile economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, by developing a flexible, forward-looking and fair regulatory environment, for the region to enjoy many more socio-economic benefits of digital services.