In 2017, just 44% of the Sub-Saharan population were mobile subscribers. Despite such a low penetration level, subscriber growth is actually slowing as a result of both demographic and geographic challenges. The number of subscribers is projected to increase to 52% of the population by 2025, with the vast majority of those new connections being smartphones.
As a result of this growth, we will see 300 million new internet users in the same period, a promising advance in digital inclusion which will open doors to better social and economic services. A wide range of mobile money services will provide the opportunity for financial inclusion to unbanked segments of the population, especially women and those living in rural regions who typically have limited access to established financial institutions.
The mobile sector will continue to contribute to the regional economy. By 2022, the industry will contribute $150 billion to Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP, accounting for 7.9% of GDP. In 2017 this figure was 7.1%. Mobile related industries in the region employ 3 million people, with 450,000 additional jobs expected to be created by 2022.
You can read the full GSMA report on the Mobile Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa here.