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

Botswana to play part in SKA project

Botswana has confirmed its participation in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Radio Astronomy project.  Read More

Hybrid cloud: the future of enterprise IT

Major enterprises around the world are moving to a hybrid cloud model to benefit from cloud functionality while still maintaining control of key applications and data, says IBM. Read More

SA, Kenya cloud revenues to more than double by 2018

The combined revenues of the cloud computing markets in South Africa and Kenya will more than double to US$288 million in 2018 from US$114.6 million in 2013, says a new report. Read More

Microsoft sponsors DEMO Africa

Microsoft Corporation has taken up platinum sponsorship for this year’s edition of DEMO Africa, to be held later in the month, in Lagos, Nigeria.  Read More

Bank customers kick against ATM charges

Bank customers have faulted the re-introduction of charges on users ATMs in Nigeria, arguing that it is a reflection of the ‘policy somersault’ that has been the hallmark of successive adminstrations in the country. Read More

Pamoja’s cloud service ecosystem taking shape in Africa

Pamoja, a leading cloud services and content aggregation business entity in the SEACOM stable, has entrenched the value of its service in East Africa and officially made this high-growth region its base.  Read More

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

PRESS OFFICES

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

FEATURED STORY

MFarmer SMS redefines market access for Ugandan farmersMFarmer SMS redefines market access for Ugandan farmers

Ugandan smallholder farmers are benefitting from an ambitious innovative ICT mobile phone initiative that offers weather reports and up-to-date market information about changes in prices for agricultural commodities, thus granting them lucrative returns from their farming ventures. 

IN DEPTH

NIG President speaks his mindNIG President speaks his mind

Bayo Banjo, CEO, Disc Communications and President, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) says the proposed licensing of infrastructure companies by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) will breed corruption and entrench monopolistic practices. Kokumo Goodie reports.

COMPANY NEWS

VMware announces general availability of new solutions for building, managing and protecting softwar

VMware has announced the general availability of VMware NSX 6.1, VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager 5.8, VMware vCloud Suite 5.8, VMware vRealize Operations Insight, VMware vRealize Suite ...