Africa’s fastest-growing ICT nations

COMPUTING

|
Image: Brahima Sanou. By BiztechAfrica
Brahima Sanou

New figures released today by ITU show that information and communication technology (ICT) uptake continues to grow worldwide, spurred by a steady fall in the price of telephone and broadband Internet services.

The new data, released in ITU’s flagship annual report Measuring the Information Society 2012, ranks the Republic of Korea as the world’s most advanced ICT economy, followed by Sweden, Denmark, Iceland and Finland.

ITU’s ICT Development Index (IDI) ranks 155 countries according to their level of ICT access, use and skills, and compares 2010 and 2011 scores. All countries in the IDI top 30 are high-income countries, underlining the strong link between income and ICT progress. IDI values are, on average, twice as high in the developed world compared with developing countries, the report says.

The report identifies the group of countries with the lowest IDI levels – so-called ‘Least Connected Countries’ – and highlights the need for policy makers to pay keen attention to this group. Ghana, Nigeria and Niger are ranked among these.

The Measuring the Information Society 2012 report also identifies countries which have made the most progress when it comes to ICT development. These dynamic ICT markets are mostly located in the developing world – evidence that many developing countries are catching up quickly in efforts to bridge the so-called ‘digital divide’. Strong performers include Bahrain, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Saudi Arabia.

In the mobile sector, developing countries now account for the lion’s share of market growth. Mobile-cellular subscriptions registered continuous double-digit growth in developing country markets, for a global total of six billion mobile subscriptions by end 2011.

Mobile broadband continues to be the ICT service displaying the sharpest growth rates. Over the past year, growth in mobile-broadband services continued at 40% globally and 78% in developing countries. There are now twice as many mobile-broadband subscriptions as fixed-broadband subscriptions worldwide.

The report says that globally, telecommunication and Internet services are becoming more affordable. According to the report’s ICT Price Basket (IPB), which spans 161 economies and combines the average cost of fixed-telephone, mobile-cellular and fixed-broadband Internet services, the price of ICT services dropped by 30% globally between 2008 and 2011, with the biggest decrease in fixed- broadband Internet services, where average prices have come down by 75%.

While prices in developed economies have stabilized, those in developing countries continue to fall at double-digit rates.

The report said fixed-broadband services still remain too expensive in most developing countries: by end 2011, the price of a basic, monthly fixed-broadband package represented over 40% of monthly gross national income (GNI) per capita. This compares to 1.7% in developed economies. 

However, ITU said one promising development is the growth of mobile-broadband services. In developing countries, mobile-broadband services are more widely accessible and, in the case of low-volume packages, less costly than fixed-broadband Internet services. Mobile broadband is expected to boost Internet use, which stood at 32% globally and 24% in developing countries at end 2011.

“The past year has seen continued and almost universal growth in ICT uptake. The surge in numbers of mobile-broadband subscriptions in developing countries has brought the Internet to a multitude of new users. But despite the downward trend, prices remain relatively high in many low-income countries. For mobile broadband to replicate the mobile-cellular miracle and bring more people from developing countries online, 3G network coverage has to be extended and prices have to go down even further,” said Brahima Sanou, Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau, which produces the annual report.

Impact on economic growth

The report also shows that the ICT sector has become a major contributor to economic growth. In 2010, global exports of ICT goods accounted for 12% of world merchandise trade, and as much as 20% in developing countries.

ITU data show that global revenues from telecommunication services reached USD 1.5 trillion in 2010, corresponding to 2.4 % of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). In the same year, investment (measured by capital expenditure) in telecommunications amounted to more than USD 241 billion, or an estimated 2% of the world’s total gross fixed capital formation.

The figures highlight the important role developing countries are playing in terms of telecommunication revenues and investments, particularly during the recent economic crisis.

Between 2007 and 2010, both telecom revenues and investment continued to grow by 22% in developing countries, whereas revenues stagnated in developed countries. Developing countries are also increasingly attractive destinations for foreign direct investment (FDI) in telecommunications.



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus

MORE COMPUTING NEWS

Seagate ships world's first 8TB hard drives

Seagate Technology has announced it is shipping the world’s first 8TB hard disk drive.  Read More

Myth-busting the cloud for SMEs

There are still a few myths that prevail about the risks and benefits of cloud computing, says Ivan Epstein, co-founder of Softline and CEO of Sage AAMEA. Read More

Sage CRM is Umsinsi Health Care’s engine for growth

Umsinsi Health Care, a distributor of medical products, has enhanced customer service and streamlined its business processes by implementing Sage CRM as its customer relationship management platform.  Read More

Africa risks ‘new digital divide’

According to the WEF Global Information Technology Report 2014, a more solid ICT infrastructure and improving the framework conditions for innovation and entrepreneurship will be crucial to avoid the emergence of a new digital divide in Africa. Read More

VMware delivers new innovations for the open, agile, secure software-defined data centre

Industry’s most complete software-defined data centre portfolio helps customers slash CAPEX by nearly 50 percent and improve IT productivity by 100 percent or more. Read More

Gartner: CIOs must embrace digital ethics

The need for CIOs to consider digital ethics has become paramount as the pace of technology change accelerates, says Gartner. Read More

The blueprint for BYOD success

Just like mobile analytics, big data, the internet, and social networks changed the way companies do business, so the adoption of mobile devices has become a catalyst for change in corporations and SMEs, says SAP Africa. Read More

Orange, GESCI to train teachers on ICTs in education

Orange Telkom Kenya CEO Mickael Ghossein and GESCI Country Project Manager Esther Mwiyeria Orange has partnered with the Global E-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI) to support e-learning and integration of ICT in education. Read More

Cisco: the ICT behind the Commonwealth Games

240km of fibre underpins the most connected Games ever to a wealth of bandwidth, says Cisco. Read More

Ghana to benefit from Solar Powered Internet School project

Ghana is soon to benefit from Samsung's Solar Powered Internet School project, which is taking ICTs to schools across Africa. Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionSage HR AfricaMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoice

FEATURED STORY

Safaricom-Equity battle for mobile banking hots up Safaricom-Equity battle for mobile banking hots up

Equity bank's entry to the mobile banking and telephony industry is still hanging in the balance with London-based global association of mobile operators (GSMA) calling for independent audit. 

IN DEPTH

Kenya rolls out e-extension to improve agricultureKenya rolls out e-extension to improve agriculture

In a bid to curb the overwhelmed number of agricultural extension officers in Kenya, the ministry of agriculture is embracing technology with their introduction of E-Extension services, which are aimed at reaching out to over 7 million farmers annually.