Telecommunications

telecomsThe telecommunications sector has been an important driver of Africa’s economic growth over the past few years. The huge market potential that is increasingly competitive, has enabled the local enterprises to emerge in voice and data services. Telecom revenues have increased at a compounding annual growth rate of over 41% with the number of subscribers rising to close to 500 million people in the continent. Data services is currently the biggest driver in this sector, with many Africans developing apps to serve various purposes.

A good example of the success of the telecommunication sector is Kenya with Safaricom and M-Pesa which has pushed financial inclusion to over 95% of the population; a case that has become case study in leading business schools around the world, noting that it operates on minimal technology with no smart phone needed. Most of the leading telco firms like Safaricom, MTN, Vodacom, Airtel are increasing their investment in the continent. Recently a Kenyan telco, Jamii Telkom shocked the market with the lowest cost rate with
superior offering of data through fibre. Other companies in Africa are bettering their offering of data and voice services as well as also venturing into the cloud and IT security services. Up for grabs remain data, which could significantly increase the bottom line of telco firms, estimated at a combined rate of over 6 billion US dollars.

With the betterment of this sector, social welfare improves as well with multiplier effects on other sectors of the economy. Applications such as mobile money, mobile health care, insurance will deliver significant benefits to the local economy. The future in Africa is mobile.
The existing telco players, supported by governments can help promote the growth of this sector by promoting infrastructure sharing, providing rollout incentives, bettering data offering through fibre among
others.