The GSM Association (GSMA) is recognizing the growing importance of Africa by opening its first office in the region.
Based in an innovation hub in Nairobi, Kenya, the office will be responsible for promoting the benefits of mobile communication throughout Africa. The GSMA predicts total mobile connections in sub-Saharan Africa will grow by 250 million over the next five years, after subs numbers cleared 500 million users in 1Q13.
Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSMA, says Africa now accounts for 10% of global mobile connections, and that the pace of adoption is “directly contributing $32 billion [€24.8 billion] to the Sub-Saharan African economy, or 4.4% of GDP.”
Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for almost 66% of total connections on the continent, and Bouverot says development of the mobile industry in the area could help create “14.9 million new jobs,” between 2015 and 2020, compared to 3.5 million today.
However, that potential will only be reached if governments in the area make more spectrum available for mobile services, the GSMA notes. Those that do not risk undermining their broadband and development goals because the region has high levels of mobile internet usage, the Association warns.