Africa

The growth of Africa's mobile market

Updated 1347 GMT (2147 HKT) November 24, 2016
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The rise in Africa's mobile market is staggering. Its population of mobile users now amount to 12% of all individual subscribers in the world and make up 6% of global revenue. This is a 70% increase when compared to figures published just five years ago.

Pictured: Dressed up people take selfies at the running of the 38th J&B Met horse race on January 31, 2015, at the Kenilworth Race Course, in Cape Town. South Africa is amongst the top five countries for mobile usage in Africa.
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The spectacular growth in mobile demand should result in 730 million individual subscribers by 2020. It's market is second only to that of the Asia-Pacific region.

Pictured: Hostesses take a selfie during the African Footballer of the Year Award in Abuja, Nigeria on January 7, 2016.
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Smartphone sales now account for 23% of the mobile phone market. These sales are set to increase as infrastructure is modernized and network coverage improves.

Pictured: Visitors take selfies during the opening of the Lagos Photo festival in Lagos on October 22, 2016.
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Pictured: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (C) and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (L) pose as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (2nd R) takes a selfie picture with them, during a visit to the presidential palace in Abuja, Nigeria, on September 2, 2016. SUNDAY AGHAEZE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Half of the 4G networks currently in use are less than two years old and 4G has just been made available in 24 countries.

Pictured: A Tunisian man takes a selfie with a woman wrapped in cloth with a print of their national flag during a rally on January 14, 2016 in the Habib Bourguiba Avenue in the capital Tunis, to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2011 revolution.
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While the market remains largely dominated by 2G packages, high-speed mobile connections (4G/LTE) are gaining ground. In 2015, 46/LTE represented 25% of the market; this will rise to an estimated 60% by 2020.

Pictured: A technician scans the eye of a woman with a smartphone application, in Kianjokoma village, near Kenya's lakeside town of Naivasha. The 'Eyephone app', a smartphone application which can detect eye diseases and disorders, could potentially provide low-income and poor Kenyans with an opportunity to get a quick and effective diagnosis of their eye problems, even in remote rural areas.
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At a time when Africa is hosting the COP22, the mobile phone sector has had a catastrophic environmental impact in the region.

Pictured: Nigerian fashion models Mary Jane Unueroh and Fome Emede (L) take a photo of themselves with a cell phone behind the curtain during their fashion show to promote ethnic fashion in Tel Aviv, Israel.
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It is easy to repair a smartphone, by virtue of some creative handiwork in markets and souks. But this does not translate to the phones being easily recyclable, however.

Pictured: A woman uses a mobile phone to record the July 4 celebrations in Tahrir square, the day after former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, the country's first democratically elected president, was ousted from power on July 4, 2013 in Cairo, Egypt.
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Phones are mainly disposed of in landfills and unauthorized markets.

Pictured: Profit Corner by Mario Macilau. A boy plays behind a discarded TV frame. Electronic waste is burned at the Maputo Municipal open pit dumpsite in Mozambique.
Courtesy Mario Macilau
"The digital recycling sector, relating to the life-cycle of all high-tech products, must be completely re-examined, cleaned up, made viable and profitable in the long run throughout the continent," say academics.

Pictured: A mobile phone shop worker watches a televised broadcast of the Nelson Mandela memorial service on December 10, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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In 2012, economic activity related to mobile phones and their life-cycle accounted for about 3.3 million jobs.

Pictured: Employees work on mobile phones on the assembly line at the VMK (for "Vumbuka", "Wake up" in Kituba) factory in Brazzaville on July 20, 2015. The factory, run by Verone Mankou, produces the first mobile phones made in French speaking Africa.
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The top five countries for mobile subscribers are Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They account for about 44% of total subscribers, while the bottom 30 countries only make up 10%.

Pictured: Young Ivorians attending an Internet Festival in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
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