Africa has a number of singular features that have carried over into an original development model. First, the weak purchasing power in most countries has driven the rise of a low-cost market, both for services and mobile handsets, primarily with a prepaid model. The transition to data services could follow the same path, dominated by low-end plans billed based on data volume. Further down the road, Africa’s growing middle class will make it possible to move beyond the low-cost approach and foster the development of value-added products.
The region has also managed to capitalise on the latest technologies, leapfrogging over several stages of development, starting with the use of wireless technologies for accessing the Web. The continent should also benefit eventually from upcoming innovations such as constellations (drones, balloons, micro–satellites) to bring access to rural areas. Lastly, Africa has been a seedbed of innovations in services, in the financial arena (e.g. the well-known success of e-money), health, farming and education. Also noteworthy is the development of entertainment services, with well established film and TV production hubs and the more recent video game hubs.
Africa’s digital industry is expanding, with the creation of technology hubs, incubators for start-ups, regional trade and collaboration networks, bolstered by the support of local governments and global digital industry leaders.
Growth rate of the different services
DELVE DEEPER WITH THE FOLLOWING IDATE DIGIWORLD MARKET REPORTS
Investing in content: what are AT&T and Verizon hoping for?
2016 turned out to be a relatively mediocre year for the telecom services market in Western countries: an overall trend of stabilisation in Europe’s biggest markets, after suffering a steady decline in revenue since 2008, and an overall decrease in mobile revenue in the United States, breaking with the steady growth that AT&T and Verizon had managed to maintain up until 2015.