GSMA’s head of Sub-Saharan Africa Akinwale Goodluck said 62% of over 800 million people across Sub-Saharan Africa don’t use mobile internet, despite the availability of mobile broadband networks.
Speaking at a virtual event to discuss increasing digital inclusion in the region, Goodluck said there is still a demand for education on the value of data services and Sub-Saharan Africa faced several challenges regarding internet connectivity.
These challenges include a lack of content that adds value and the prohibitive cost of smartphones.
Goodluck said while many people in the region connected to the internet because of music and video streaming, entertainment should not be the only reason because access is not free.
“Data-centric services, particularly music and video streaming will drive a four-fold increase in data consumption by 2024. The biggest problem is finding content that will be compelling for Africans to go online. There is a lot that governments can do to compel people to go online. Governments procedures including applications for driving licenses and registering births can be conducted online,” said Goodluck.
He the problem was also compounded by luck of mobile infrastructure in rural areas as operators were reluctant to invest because of the delay in ROI.See Also
Zambia is an example. The country’s government partnered with Huawei Technologies Zambia to construct communication towers for Zamtel across the country’s rural areas.
Latest statistics from the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) shows the country has just over 9 million mobile internet users, representing a 52.59% penetration rate while mobile subscription stands at 17, 220,607, representing 99.08% penetration rate.