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SURE! Blog

Africa: Now and Beyond.

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Jul, 2014


Africa is the second largest and the second-most-populous continent in the world. With that population and the rapidly expanding consumer base, the African market is poised for an explosive growth in terms of embracing evolving communication technologies. If the projected growth rates for African economy are to be true, it will outpace some of the fastest moving economies of the world in the next 5 years.

African businesses recognizes the importance of emerging technologies such as mobile, cloud, and social media in the current dynamic marketplace, though the adoption rate is yet to improve. One of the recent advancements in technology adoption is the growth in mobile payments like M Pesa, which is expected to reach $160 billion by 2016. It is way ahead compared to American markets where it is expected to reach $90 billion by 2017.

Another area where the continent has shown significant drive is the telecom sector, which is presenting great opportunities in the region. Its huge, untapped market shows only 47% market penetration and has a lot of scope for potential mobile service providers. It is one of the fastest growing telecom markets in the world. According to a new research, the African telecom market is estimated to reach $234 billion by 2020. It is currently the world’s second largest market after Asia Pacific, with 620 million mobile subscribers approximately. Nigeria has the highest number of mobile subscribers in Africa.

We can hence assume Africa is the most rapidly growing mobile telephony market of the world, and the technology is more widespread compared to fixed line telephony. The dynamic mobile subscriber base and the scarce distribution of fixed line networks are the factors that contributed to its boom. As a result of this, most internet traffic goes through mobile network. On top of mobile data seemingly promising, fixed-line broadband is equally keeping up the pace in the continent. Though the overall availability of bandwidth is less compared to other parts of the world, there are some regions within the continent such as South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania where the internet availability and infrastructure development is improving rapidly.

South Africa is one the most advanced regions of Africa both in terms of the technologies deployed and the services provided. More than 60% of internet traffic generated on the continent comes from South Africa. With the new converged licensing regime, many companies are now licensed to offer broadband services. A national infrastructure company called The Broadband Infraco has been set up by the government which will provide cheap broadband network capacity to service providers. Several FTTH deployments are underway and triply play services will also be offered in the coming times.

Keeping in view of the above trends, Africa is going to be the next big market where opportunities are booming for service providers. This enables improved services and better connectivity to the population and hence resulting in overall advancement in all areas.

By : Deepthi Kambhampati

Deepthi Kambhampati is a Market Research Analyst with SURE! She also works on improving Customer Engagement and Brand Awareness through Social Media Marketing.

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