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Smartphones to bring a $300bn boost to Africa GDP

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 25th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The next internet boom is in Africa, according to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute. Although the continent has just an internet penetration of just 16 percent, the use of mobile phones is high and upgrading the phones is all that remains.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A study by the McKinsey Global Institute, entitled, "Lions Go Digital" reveals that Africa is on the verge of a major internet boom, thanks to the spread of cellphones.

Mobile phone use is high in Africa where most of the population continues to live a rural existence. Despite this, just 16 percent of the population is believed to be on the internet. Of those, internet engagement is very high.

All that remains now is equipping people with smartphones, and in many places, upgrading the networks to allow internet connections.

With an untapped wealth of billions, waiting to be earned by providers, this will likely happen over the next decade. The increased use of the internet amongst Africans is anticipated to bring a $300 billion boom to the economy by 2025.

Americans know what this is like. In the 1990s, the United States finally embraced the internet, buying computers and wiring them to the internet during days of incredible prosperity for the nation. Over the past decade, wireless devices have become ubiquitous. In America today, virtually every person has a smartphone, a tablet, and a computer in their house.

Africa looks to enjoy the same boom as smartphones become cheaper and more readily available in Africa. Older, non-internet capable phones are hardly even manufactured anymore, so the transition is inevitable within a few years.

Helping the transition is a new generation of young who are reaching adulthood, having been raised in the digital age. Urbanization is also brining more people into networks where they can connect more easily.

The people of Africa are no different from people elsewhere in the world. The internet will be embraced and used for everything from social networking (read: marketing) to shopping. These activities will provide a ten percent boost to the GDP of the entire continent.

The time has come for Africa to come of age. The continent is expansive, the size of North America, Australia, and Europe combined. It has tremendous natural resources which remain untapped and a vast pool of ready labor to develop those resources. World interest in Africa is growing and capital is flowing into the continent.

It only seems natural then, that as rural Africa modernizes, the rest of the continent will benefit from the arrival of the internet on their phones.

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