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Broadband the key to Africa’s growth

2nd April 2013

By: Natasha Odendaal
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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Information and communications technology (ICT) development would drive the predicted 5.4% gross domestic product (GDP) growth within sub-Saharan Africa, said telecommunications group Ericsson outgoing head of sub-Saharan Africa Lars Linden.

Sub-Saharan Africa had been labelled one of the strongest-growing regions globally, surpassing the 1.4% growth predicted for developed economies.


However, the region could only capitalise on the growth with the development of a proper ICT environment and greater connectivity.

“ICT is the business that enables all other business to do business,” he said, noting that no business would be able to efficiently operate without the technology.


Ericsson previously reported that a one percentage point in broadband penetration increased the number of new businesses registering by 3.8%, and for every 1 000 new connections, 80 new jobs were created.

Further, for every 10% increase in mobile and broadband penetration, GDP increased by one percentage point, while the doubling of connection speed would yield a 0.3% percentage point increase in GDP.

Currently, Africa had about 45% mobile penetration, compared with the global average of 70%. Only 30-million out of 800-million of the population had access to broadband connectivity.

Linden said that, while Africa may be a challenging region to operate in, the less mature market, along with high demand, laid a platform for explosive ICT growth, with related infrastructure being developed throughout Africa.

“We are coming into a networked society with 50-billion devices connected by 2020, and Africa is on the same train as the rest of the world. It [the development] will happen more quickly and [be] more explosive,” he commented.

He said the number of subscribers in the data space was growing at 100% a year, and this was expected to continue.

“We see it there, we see it happen, markets are growing and it’s a really positive spin right now,” Linden said, referring to the current state of ICT development.

Former head of the India region Fredrik Jejdling would succeed Linden from April 1.

Linden’s new role remained undisclosed, but would be released shortly.


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