How mobile is lifting South Africa’s GDP

South Africa’s GDP per capita is anticipated to grow by US$241 a year between 2010 and 2020, due to an increase in mobile phone subscriptions.

This is the finding of a study implemented by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research on behalf of the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications.

Entitled “Mobile technologies – The digital fabric of our lives”, the report says that mobile subscriptions’ contribution to South Africa’s per capita GDP will be 11% (2010-2012), 3.6% (2012-2015) and 2.4% (2015-2020).

The report puts the country’s GDP per capita at $8,070.

The report notes that South Africa is probably the African country whose mobile phone adoption is the one most similar to figures in Europe. As early as 2000, 19% of South Africans had a mobile phone subscription. In 2010, statistically every South African had a mobile phone subscription.

The experts surveyed for the study estimate that this figure will grow to 165% in 2020.

Interestingly, the report noted that, unlike many other markets, South Africans like Blackberry handsets as they enable Blackberry Messages (BBM), which are free of charge.

The report notes further that, though South Africa’s mobile market is one of the most developed in Africa, there are some draw-backs.

Broadband penetration is still very low due to its high costs and bad infrastructure. In 2010, less than 2% of the population used a DSL connection.

“Instead many people used and continue to use mobile broadband. The dominance of mobile broadband will grow in the future due to high investments in network infrastructure,” the report said.

In 2010, only 1 in 100 inhabitants had a fixed broadband subscription. The report says that this will only grow to 3% in 2020.

“By 2020 a positive effect will have been observed in all surveyed countries. Mobile phone adoption will continue to make a significant contribution to economic growth,” said Dr. Karl Lichtblau, MD of the research and consultancy services company, IW Consult.

“However, after the mobile communications boom of recent years, a decline in its contribution to economic growth is to be expected in the emerging markets in the years up to 2020. This is a normalisation effect that sets in when the initial high contribution to growth during the first years of mobile communications ends.”

More on Mobile and GDP

Mobile set to rock SA Internet

Fix the internet, boost employment: economist

The state of SA broadband

SA internet holding back economic growth

SA Internet population close to 14 million

How South Africa is failing at the Internet

Must Read

Partner Content

Show comments

Trending Now

Follow Us

How mobile is lifting South Africa’s GDP