Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mobile Fuels Africa's Economic Growth

    Mobile Fuels Africa's Economic Growth


  • The mobile explosion in African countries is producing a number of benefits to businesses and the people of the continent.While China gets most of the attention, African economies are growing at some of the fastest rates in the world. Today, the continent is poised to transform the global economic landscape. Interestingly, mobile is seen as both a key enabler to sustain immediate and future growth, as well as a way to leapfrog ahead of many established economies in the use of new technologies.
    To understand the role of mobile in Africa, one need only look at the raw numbers. Nearly 90 percent of all phones in Africa are mobile phones. And by the end of 2012, there will be 735 million mobile subscribers, according the GSMA, a group that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide.
    Across Africa, mobile technology is becoming a cornerstone for industries such as health care and agriculture. And for millions of people, it is making banking truly accessible for the first time. For example, mobile payments have exploded in Kenya. In fact, the use of mobile payments is bringing a small revolution to everyday life in the country where many people do not use a regular financial institution—and fewer than 10 percent have everyday access to the Internet. (So logging in to an e-bank account to transfer funds is not usually an option.)
    Today, close to 18 million Kenyans use mobile phones as a bank account, depositing and transferring money remotely to avoid excessive travel and wait times. Total African mobile money transfers are expected to exceed $200 billion in 2015, accounting for approximately 18 percent of the continent’s GDP, according to Pyramid Research.
    Africa’s leading mobile network providers are helping to fuel the growth of the entire continent by equipping people with the tools they need to improve their lives and livelihoods in ways never before possible.
    The mobile explosion in African countries is producing a number of benefits including:
    1) Providing improved communication capabilities to people without computers or Internet access;
    2) Empowering business owners with real-time market information;
    3)  Helping manage the response to natural disasters;
    4) Connecting people to health information and services;
    5) Making banking services more accessible to more people.
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