'Mobile first' African continent offers opportunity for British businesses according to report

Fri 28 Oct 2022
Posted by: Phillip Adnett
Trade News

Africa digital economy - mobile growth key says report

A new report – sponsored by the Department for International Trade (DIT) –  has highlighted the potential of digital trade in Africa.

Launched at Mobile World Congress Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, the paper – named ‘The rise of Africa’s digital economy – tackling the usage gap’ – underlines the possibilities and the challenges faced in driving digital trade on the continent.

The DIT used the report to highlight the opportunities for growth if businesses and governments work together improve mobile access, reports Joy Online.

$180bn extra business

According to the report, Africa is a ‘mobile-first’ continent, where the phone is the preferred digital device, due to its affordability and flexibility.

Like the rest of the world, mobile use and opportunities soared during the pandemic, and a Google and IFC report estimates that internet businesses could add an extra $180bn to the continent’s GDP by 2025.

However, there are also challenges to be faced, including coverage, affordability of data and smartphones, digital education and a lack of targeted local content for users.

Widespread benefits

DIT believes that increasing access, adoption and affordability for users can deliver social and economic benefits, such as improved access to education and health services, and local, regional and international trade delivering jobs and prosperity.

The report emphasised sector opportunities for mobile businesses in Africa:

  • Digital subscriptions in South Africa will grow from $530m to $820m in 2025
  • Africa video on-demand subscriptions will grow from 4.89m users in 2021 to 13.72m by 2027
  • The African e-learning market is set to almost double to $4.71bn by 2027

IOE&IT into Africa

In January, the IOE&IT opened its first overseas office in Kenya, in recognition of the growing potential of the continent for British businesses.

This summer, then-trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan highlighted the opportunities of the African market, which is forecast to expand more than five-fold from nearly $700bn in 2019, to $3.9 trillion by 2050.

“Clearly, to achieve this and to reduce costs for consumers and businesses in African countries, we need to remove trade barriers,” she said.