Telecoms sector in Nigeria, S’Africa to add $166b to region’s GDP by 2020
GOING by the pace at which telecommunications sector is currently going in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and other sub-Saharan African countries, there are projections that the industry will add about $166 billion to the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2020.
Making this projection was the President, Transatlantic Media Company, Bayero Agabi, during the maiden edition of the Nigeria Mobile Economy Summit and Awards (NIMES) in Lagos.
Agabi explained that the projected $166 billion, which has been well documented by various studies, translates to about eight per cent of the region’s expected GDP.
He explained that the growth is propelled by rapid growth in mobile infrastructure.
“For instance, the mobile industry has continued to scale rapidly, with a total of 3.6 billion unique mobile subscribers at the end of 2014. Half of the world’s population now has a mobile subscription, up from just one in five only about 10 years ago,” he said.
According to him, an additional one billion subscribers are predicted by 2020, taking the global penetration rate to approximately 60 per cent, stressing that there were 7.1 billion global Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) connections at the end of 2014, and a further 243 million machine-to-machine (M2M) connections.
Agabi noted that the world is seeing a rapid technology migration to both higher speed mobile broadband networks and the increased adoption of smartphones and other connected devices.
“As a result, mobile broadband connections accounts for almost 70 per cent of the global base by 2020, up from just under 40 per cent at the end of 2014. Smartphone adoption is already reaching critical mass in developed markets, with the devices now accounting for 60 per cent of connections,” he added.
While lamenting that it is almost impossible to get a one-stop and properly aggregated information targeted directly at the Nigeria mobile economy, said although the contributions and growth of the Nigeria mobile economy is visible, records to show this is almost non-existent.
Agabi said the recent upsurge in the growth of online service delivery cutting across financial services, online media, tourism, e-commerce, confectioneries, to even food, is a pointed to the growth already recorded in the mobile economy in Nigeria.
“From hotel booking to airline services, banking transactions, education, health and many others, the growing trend today is the ‘e-syndrome’, which simply encapsulates the emergence of the mobile economy.
He explained that in Nigeria, the coming of Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM) services heralded by the transparent auction by the Nigerian Communications Commission has continued to grow at a rate not envisaged by many including the operators themselves.
According to him, access to the Internet has also led to the growth of youth innovation from apps development to service offerings. To cement and stabilise this growth, he said the Nigeria government, through the NCC, is focused on growing broadband. “This can only but fuel business and innovation growth we see today.”
In the same vein, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who also spoke at the forum, said mobile industry has grown tremendously in the country.
Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Tony Ojobo, said the growth in mobile economy has the industry to leapfrog and become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and had, for a time, led the world as the fastest-telecoms growth market for a consecutive five years.
The NCC boss said that Nigeria has kept pace with the trends in mobile growth and could be counted alongside developed parts of the world.