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Reports Emphasis on the Importance of Affordability and Connectivity for Mobile Phones

A new report by the blockchain-based mobile network operator, World Mobile, believes that Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and Egypt will fuel the continent’s mobile commerce boom. According to World Mobile, professional investors see the opportunities in the sector and expect the mobile phone to drive growth. Those investors who were polled believe healthcare is the sector that will see the most benefit from increased connectivity. Around 53% highlighted the opportunities for healthcare, ahead of ecommerce (42%), and media and entertainment (40%). The report estimates that there will be significant growth in smartphone penetration in Africa and simultaneous growth in digital retail transactions. World Mobile’s report forecasts around 120m new mobile subscribers by 2025 on the continent, taking the total to 615m, up from 495m in 2020. Another report points out that over 50% of all mobile money users are from the continent.

Another report – a white paper titled: “Towards a flourishing digital economy for all – a spotlight on Africa”, produced by the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT), in partnership with the GSM Association, explores the progress made in building Africa’s mobile-driven digital economy. It considers specific obstacles in the African mobile commerce market, including unbanked customers, the lack of reliable identity credentials, and last-mile delivery issues. On the issue of challenges in advancing mobile ecommerce on the continent, the report notes digital infrastructure and the issue of identity among the most obvious obstacles. It states that a thriving digital economy requires a sturdy base of connectivity, customer identity, and last-mile delivery. The White Paper points out that 58% of Africa’s population is covered by 4G – but 5G lags. In some rural areas, internet usage is as low as 26%. Furthermore, those with feature phones do not have access to a suitable mobile ecommerce experience. The report highlights that for most Africans, the mobile internet is the internet.  Jumia, for example, points out that it has 7.3 million active customers across Africa, of which 75% use smartphones to shop on its platform.


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