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Mobile Telecom Adds $100bn To Sub-Saharan Africa Economy

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09.Oct 2015 - The mobile telecommunications industry in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) has contributed $102 billion to the region's economy in 2014 equivalent to 5.7 per cent of the region's gross domestic product (GDP) according to a new study by Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA).

The report unveiled at the 'Mobile 360 Series – Africa' conference being held in Cape Town this week entitled 'The Mobile Economy – Sub-Saharan Africa 2015', said mobile operators directly contributed $31 billion, representing 1.7 per cent of GDP with total mobile connections in Sub-Saharan Africa on track to reach 722 million by year-end.

This economic contribution is set to increase over the coming years as mobile operators continue to extend connectivity to unconnected populations across the region and roll out new mobile broadband networks and services. The industry is forecast to contribute $166 billion in value to the region by 2020, equivalent to eight per cent of expected GDP by this point.

Alex Sinclair, acting director general and chief technology officer at the GSMA, "The mobile industry remains a key driver of economic growth and employment in Sub-Saharan Africa, making a vital contribution given the population growth and high unemployment levels seen in many countries in the region."

He said "Despite revenue and margin pressures, local mobile operators continue to invest heavily to extend network coverage to serve unconnected communities and accelerate the migration to high-speed 3G/4G mobile broadband networks. Mobile technology is also playing a central role in Sub-Saharan Africa by addressing a range of socio-economic challenges, particularly digital and financial inclusion, and enabling access to vital services such as education and healthcare."