Today, GSMA released this year's edition of its annual report; The Mobile Economy: West Africa 2018 report at the Mobile 360 West Africa event in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivore.
The report looks at the state of the mobile industry in West Africa in terms of growth, subscriber and revenue numbers, contribution to GDP, mobile penetration as well as projections.
According to the report, the mobile industry in West Africa will contribute more than $50 billion annually to the region’s economy by 2022 and 72 million additional mobile subscribers are expected to be added in West Africa by 2025, increasing subscriber penetration to 54 %.
Speaking on the state of the West African mobile industry, Akinwale Goodluck, GSMA Head, Sub Saharan Africa said,
ECOWAS has the fastest growing and deepest penetration compared to other regional economic communities.We are quite confident about the mobile numbers. We also see the continued improvement in infrastructure by the operators and more of them are going the way of LTE; we have about 29 LTE networks. Although 3G continues to be the major standard for mobile broadband in West Africa, we will see more LTE networks as licences and spectrums are released by regulators.
For this to be achieved, the government has a huge role to play by collaborating with mobile network operators to provide an enabling environment for penetration growth.
"We need governments in West Africa to have a well defined spectrum policy that must be clear about when spectrum will be allocated and that will avoid creating artificial scarcity of spectrum" Akinwale Goodluck said.
He continued by highlighting how this collaboration will impact economic growth and how governments in West Africa should be responsible for developing infrastructure using spectrum fees as against allowing operators to develop them.
"This will lead to the creation of a bigger tax base that will help drive digital and financial inclusion and ultimately, bigger economies" he adds.
Get the full report here.