Africa’s fastest-growing ICT nations
COMPUTING| Oct. 11, 2012, 2:25 p.m.
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.
MORE COMPUTING NEWS
Omatek CEO is NCS 2015 IT Personality of the YearThe Chief Executive Officer of Omatek Ventures Plc, Engineer (Mrs.) Florence Seriki, has emerged the recipient of the IT Personality of the Year 2015 in Nigeria. Read More
Networks Unlimited supports future that starts with the alphabetTo help boost South Africa's reading and writing skills, the country's leading value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited, is supporting UNESCO's International Literacy Day by providing funding to Literacy for Life, a provider of educational writing and reading aids to disadvantaged schools. Read More
Citrix appoints new vice president for EMEACitrix has announced the appointment of Sherif Seddik as Managing Director and Vice President for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Read More
Huawei sponsors students for China study tripHuawei Technologies Botswana recently teamed up with Botswana's Ministry of Education and Skills Development to award a sponsorship for ten ICT students to study Huawei corporate culture and other see the latest ICTs in China. Read More
Second ‘ICTs into learning’ course concludedThe Botswana College of Distance and Open Learning (BOCODOL) has just concluded its second workshop on Integrating ICTs into teaching and learning at its head office in Gaborone. Read More
2nd eCommerce Expo opens in AccraThe second eCommerce Exposition has opened in Ghana’s capital Accra with a call on eCommerce service operators to provide easy and accessible online trading platforms to meet the ever growing demand of the country’s emerging middle class. Read More
Millennium Bim selects Ingenico Group to upgrade its POS fleet in MozambiqueIngenico Group, a leader in seamless payment, has announced that Millennium Bim, the largest bank in Mozambique, has partnered with Ingenico Group to replace its current fleet of point-of-sales throughout the country. Read More
Gartner CIO Survey shows digital business means platform businessCIOs expect digital revenue will grow from 17 per cent in 2015 to 38 per cent of total private sector revenue by 2020, according to a Gartner, Inc. survey of 1,075 CIOs in EMEA. Read More
Ericsson, Worldwide E-Learning Campus invest in ICT skills development in RwandaWorldwide E-Learning Campus (WEC) in Rwanda has launched a partnership with Ericsson to develop professional ICT competencies within the country. Read More
Global mining leaders discuss digitised mine of the futureMembers of the SAP Advisory Council for Mining are meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, for two days of in-depth discussions on the processes and technologies that will support and drive the digital mine of the future. Read More
FEATURED STORYeCommerce in Africa urged to take advantage of mobile
The Executive Chairman of Alltel has urged operators of eCommerce in Ghana and Africa as a whole to take advantage of the current trend for Africans to trade online via their mobile handsets.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHNigeria needs $25b investment in broadband, says Wood
Telecoms executive Adrian Wood speaks to Kokumo Goodie about investment potential in Nigeria.