ICT East African Context

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ICT East African Context 2017-08-16T12:59:25+00:00


The following sectors pose a great opportunity for investment in the East Africa’s’ ICT sector. E-Commerce, E-government, Agriculture, Energy, Education, Health and Security.
Mobile communication in the region has been booming and is currently posting one of the highest growth rates in the world. The uptake for mobile phones has addressed the high demand for communication, but also provided alternatives and disruptive business models for services such as banking, entertainment, medical advice, and training, which were previously not easily accessible.
The telecommunication operators and the governments in the region have invested in infrastructure (rollout of radio access networks and supporting optical transport infrastructure) hence driving the ICT uptake in the region.

There were 420 million unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa, equivalent to a penetration rate of 43%. The region continues to grow faster than any other region and the region will have more than 500 million unique mobile subscribers by 2020, by which time around half the population will subscribe to a mobile service.

400 million additional smart phones are expected in the Sub-Sahara region by 2020, twice as many as the current number of smart phone users in the United States.

The use of mobile applications is expected to increase, particularly among the tech savvy youth. In conjunction, a local application economy that develops content and services for domestic consumption is expected to emerge. There is increasing knowledge, on the significance of the internet; this is expected to continue driving internet penetration.

The number of 3G and 4G subscribers in Tanzania and Kenya are expected to double from the 2015 subscriber numbers in the next two years.

Digitalization is expected to transform East Africa the coming years. Digitalization amplifies the benefits of connectivity, and is expected to make a vast impact on the East African development and influence it to be more inclusive, efficient and innovative. Digital transformation drives growth, generates jobs and opens up for delivery of a vast array of services.
A large and growing young population is expected to fuel the digital development in the region. Considering the sound base of connected individuals and a positive development, the East African digitalization is expected to greatly impact East Africa and the world the coming years.
Mobile is taking the lead in the digital development in East Africa and is the foremost platform for creation, distribution and consumption of innovative solutions and services in the region.
e-Commerce leverages on smart infrastructure of mobile transactional platforms. Tanzania is one of the top three countries when it comes to e-commerce in Africa, and also Kenya has got a good start. Both countries have a high forecasted growth the coming years (CAGR 21% and 17% respectively). In order to ensure growth in e-commerce, investments in infrastructure and logistics are vital.
Innovation centers and technology hubs support the digital development and have played a critical role in fostering ICT sector growth in Africa, by bringing up innovative and disruptive solutions. In East Africa, Kenya and Uganda are the leaders in the number of hubs, with 27 and 12 hubs respectively. The innovation centers are partnering with global technology companies such as Google, Amazon and IBM and telecommunication operators among others. Through such partnerships the companies have gained access to local innovations and also enabled some telecommunication operators to remain innovative by tapping in to the skills in the hubs.
Security is a high priority in Eastern Africa, and the people who can afford private security uses the service. Only in Kenya, the private security sector employs 400 000 people, which makes the sector more than four times bigger than the police, military and prisoners services combined. In Uganda and Tanzania the picture is similar. (The East African, Charles Onyango-Obbo, June 18 2016)
IoT has the potential to greatly impact the security sector with new solutions able to monitor homes, plants, and other facilities.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Middle East and Africa (MEA) internet of things (IoT) market is forecast to defy the region’s moderate economic outlook by growing 19.6% year on year in 2017 to total $7.8 billion, according to a recent update to the Worldwide Semiannual Internet of Things Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC). This compares favorably to the healthy 18.1% growth seen in 2016, with IDC attributing the market’s performance to the proliferation of digital transformation initiatives across the region as businesses and government entities strive to boost productivity and improve efficiency.
“The MEA IoT market is becoming increasingly competitive, enabling organizations to source a range of innovative digital solutions aimed at transforming business operations, improving the customer experience, and enhancing employee engagement,” says Wale Babalola, research analyst for telecommunications, IoT, and digital media at IDC MEA. “Indeed, IoT now offers a myriad of industry-specific solutions that can be easily deployed by organizations in a bid to stay ahead of competition.

(Data courtesy of GSMA Mobile Economy 2017, The Business- Sweden and IDC MEA, Siteresouces.worldbank.org)


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