The importance of technology to the achievement of national development goals has long been recognised by states. The introduction of Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) heralded the hope that technology could be a catalyst for the attainment of economic growth and development.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have four ICT-related goals. They are: 1) Quality Education, 2) Gender Equality, 3) Industry Innovation, and 4) Partnerships for the Goals. These goals mention the significance of the role ICT plays, and thus highlight the importance of ICT to the development of Africa.
This importance of ICT in development played a role in the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) launching the African Information Society Initiative (AISI). This initiative aimed to bridge the digital divide between Africa and the rest of the world, and to speed the continent’s entry into the global economy.
The internet is known to increase productivity and add to the GDP of an economy. According to GSMA, mobile technologies and services generated more than USD 130 billion of economic value added (8% of GDP) in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020. This is expected to reach USD 155 billion by 2025.
By the end of 2021, 860 million people were subscribed to mobile services in Sub-Saharan Africa, representing 78.2% of the region’s population. This was an increase of almost 70 million from 2020. It is projected that there will be around 220 million new subscribers by 2027, taking the total number of subscribers to 1080 million (98.2% of the region’s population).
It was estimated by GSMA that at the end of 2020, 28% of the Sub-Saharan African population were connected to the mobile internet. This number is expected to reach 40% of the population by 2025.
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