Sub-Saharan Africa is a region on a mission to play catch up with the developing world, providing progressive technologies and life-enhancing services to its people. The ever-increasing demand for mobile services has created an average growth rate of 44% over the past eleven years and with new technologies becoming available every day, there’s little chance of market growth slowing.
Blackberry was wise to focus more of their energies on their loyal African market. Mobile innovations have changed the landscape of modern life on the continent, making a huge impact on everything from business to healthcare, easing the operational load that a lack resources has rendered on more remote areas. According to itwebafrica.com, mobile connections south of the Sahara have ‘increased to 475 million, compared to 12.3 million fixed line connections.’ The obvious expense of acquiring a home PC, land line and paying for the connection have seen a desire for fixed lines plummet in favour of more manageable mobiles. This has also seen the region climb to the top of the global internet usage ladder, with South Africa leading, followed by Nigeria and Kenya. According to itwebafrica.com, ‘ The global average for internet accessibility through mobile devices ranges around 10%’, this figure pales in comparison to the 58.1% rate of internet via mobile usage in Zimbabwe. 3G and 4G penetration will further increase these figures along with wealth, job creation and the region’s GDP.
Too much growth?
Mobile broadband is proving to be the most effective method of providing internet access to African consumers and in order for the people this technology serves to continue to reap the benefits of it, increased support from governments and service providers will be needed to cope with the expected market explosion. Potential congestion and uneconomical prices are threatening to scare off investors and cull the boom that is so greatly needed.
In a News24.com article, Peter Panait Løjmand of Opera (a major player in the mobile software industry, which counts Vodacom, Samsung and AT&T as some of its customers), described internet access as ‘a universal right’. And Africa is proof that this right makes lives better – easier, more profitable, more educated. More connected.