A recent report has stated that Zimbabwe is number 1 when it comes to growth in device ownership (Mobile Growth) in sub-saharan African Countries.
BY PERSEVERANCE TAVAGWISA
Buoyed by slashed rates in data and voice plus the entrance of affordable smart phones in the system, millions of Zimbabweans can now afford a smartphone pushing our national mobile penetration rate to over 103%.
Sub-Saharan Africa is the second-largest mobile technology market after Asia and the fastest growing one, with the GSMA forecasting the region’s mobile users will reach 346 million by 2017. This growth has leapfrogged traditional landline phone connections. The median percentage of households with landlines in these 23 countries in 2013 is 2% — unchanged from 2008.
The growth in mobile phone ownership in sub-Saharan Africa has not been equally distributed across the subcontinent or even within countries. Mobile phones remain most common in urban households. In 2013, 80% of urban households had at least one mobile phone, compared with 63% of rural households that have at least one mobile phone. This is a change from six years ago when 63% of urban households had at least one mobile and 43% of rural households did.
Not surprisingly, higher income households have a greater percentage of mobile phone ownership. However, a majority in even the poorest 20% of the population report having at least one phone in their household. Growth has been biggest among sub-Saharan Africans in the second-lowest income group, increasing 28 percentage points since 2008.
Nearly two-thirds of homes in 23 sub-Saharan African countries had at least one mobile phone in 2013, but when it comes to growth in device ownership, Zimbabwe is No. 1, according to a Gallup report.
Eighty percent of Zimbabwean homes had mobile devices in 2013 – with 9 percent annual growth since 2008, when 26 percent of homes had mobile.
Mauritania topped Gallup’s list for percentage of households with at least one mobile phone in 2013 (96 percent). Second was Botswana, with 87 percent. Senegal, Ghana and Zmbia ranked third, fourth and fifth with 82 percent, 81 percent and 81 percent. Nigeria ranked No. 7 with 78 percent of households,behind Zimbabwe (No. 6 with 80 percent).
South Africa ranked No. 11 with 70 percent. There are more households with mobile phones in Ivory Coast (76 percent), Uganda (76 percent) and Burkina Faso (73 percent) than in South Africa.
The lowest percentages of households with mobile phones in 2013 were in Madagascar (40 percent) Niger (41 percent), Liberia (51 percent) Congo Kinshasa (52 percent) and Sierra Leone (53 percent).
With mobile phone penetration in 2013 lower in rural areas and lowest among households with low incomes, there is room for growth in sub-Saharan Africa. However, it may be difficult to sustain pace of growth without more substantial investment in infrastructure in the region,