Africa is world's fastest growing mobile phone market
A boom in a raw materials and the increased liberalisation of markets backed the high growth rate in the sector, experts say.Abidjan -- The African market for mobile telephones has since 2002 shown the "fastest growth rate in the world," according to a survey conducted by business consultancy Ernst & Young and published Monday.
"Since 2002, the African market has seen a growth rate of 49.3 percent, where the French market has only seen 7.5 percent a year, compared with 28 percent in Brazil and 27.4 percent in Asia, said the report released in Abidjan.
Mobile phones have penetrated 37 percent of the potential market and this figure "could rise to 61 percent by 2018," it added.
The study was carried out among 28 leading mobile phone operators in 49 countries.
“A boom in a raw materials and the increased liberalisation of markets backed the high growth rate in the sector,” said Serge Thiemele, who heads the African sector of the Global Telecommunication Centre, behind the study.
There are three kinds of markets in Africa, ranging from the developed ones in 11 countries, the emerging ones in 27 nations and the virgin markets yet to be explored in 19 countries, he added.
To maintain the growth rate, the telecommunications sector faced many challenges, particularly the availability of "quality human resources" and the issues arising from high production costs, he said.
"Today, operators are going into zones where there is no electricity, you need generators and those are expensive,” Thiemele said. "There are also security problems, so you have to hire guardians and install alarm systems."