In Africa and the Middle East, the digital ecosystem is proving relatively resilient, with user numbers that continue to surge, steadily expanding network coverage and the growing availability and adoption of high-speed access (chiefly cellular but also fibre to the home in some areas).

Building on the success of innovative services in vertical sectors – starting with m-money solutions – innovation in online services is truly starting to blossom and take shape, and the rate of investments in start-ups accelerated substantially in 2016, and not only in the biggest markets (Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa) but across the entire region.

With an economic recovery being forecast for 2017, and heavyweight global players from the US and Europe, as well as Asia, are clearly setting their sights on the region, this edition of the Yearbook delivers a detailed snapshot of key events in 2016, and looks ahead to the underlying trends that will shape the market in the years to come.

Table of contents

Multiple challenges ahead


The challenges of the digital revolution
Socio-economic situation
A region that still lags behind the rest of the world
A mosaic of disparate countries
Strong population growth
Backslide in economic growth


Network development
Mobile First
Fibre: backbone deployments and emergence of FTTH/B
The new challenges for satellite
TV distribution networks: satellite still number one
Unconventional technologies: the harsh realities of going from drawing board to trials
IoT: LPWA technologies well suited to local conditions
Increasingly affordable smartphones


Public policies for funding infrastructure
National and regional public policies: disparate situations
Massive need for funding for infrastructures and services
Ecosystem: Africa’s silicon savannah


Applications and content
Tremendous diversity of services
M-money: a host of challenges in a changing market
E-commerce: obstacles standing in the way of a mass market
E-health: a major challenge
E-education: a social issue
E-agriculture: the information challenge
E-government: an overriding trend
The various facets of the smart city in Africa
A growing number of TV offerings
Video on demand rising
Are OTT communication services a threat to telcos’ core business?
Social networks: Facebook’s strategy to bolster usage


Strategic trajectories
Industry structure and market dynamics
Regulation will be key to shaping the sector’s development
Telcos: racing to achieve critical mass?
American heavyweights on the scene
Market forecasts


The top regional operators: key data


Geographical trajectories
Regional stakes
Disparate marketplaces
Core sub-regional trends


National data


IDATE DigiWorld
Our expertise in Africa

Geographic area

Middle East & Africa
  • Algeria
  • Congo, Dem. Rep.
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Egypt
  • Ethiopia
  • Iran
  • Israel
  • Kenya
  • Morocco
  • Nigeria
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • Tunisia
  • United Arab Emirates


  • Bharti-Airtel
  • Etisalat
  • Millicom
  • MTN
  • Orange
  • STC
  • Vodafone

Other details

  • Reference: DWI174A
  • Delivery: on the DigiWorld Interactive platform
  • Languages available: French, English
  • Tags: Africa, digital ecosystem, E-agriculture, E-Commerce, E-Education, E-Health, fibre, high-speed access, Infrastructure, iot, Middle East, M-money, Mobile, network coverage, online services, OTT communication services, public policies, Regulation, satellite, Smart City, social network, Telcos, TV distribution, TV offerings, Video on demand

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DigiWorld Yearbook Africa & the Middle East 2017

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