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African business leaders predict better-than-expected GDP growth

By , Portals editor
Africa , 21 Jun 2022

More than a quarter believe internet connectivity is important for growth and two out of three say it will become more important.

African business leaders are confident Sub-Saharan Africa will beat International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts for GDP growth this year and next, new research* for blockchain-based mobile network operator World Mobile shows.

The IMF is predicting real GDP growth of 3.8% this year rising to 4% next year. However, the study with African business leaders found almost all are more confident about growth.

Nearly 88% predict GDP growth this year will be 4% or higher while 60% expect GDP growth to be 4.3% or more in 2023.

World Mobile’s study surveyed senior executives at companies with combined annual revenues of US$6.75-billion based in Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.

The senior business executives believe improving internet connectivity is vital to continuing economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa where around 28% of the population are connected to the internet

Around 27% of executives say it is important to boosting growth, while nearly two-thirds (65%) say its role in boosting economic growth will increase over the next three years as societies become more digital and technology focused.

World Mobile is working with the government in Zanzibar where it is launching a unique hybrid mobile network delivering connectivity supported by low altitude platform balloons. 

The company plans to expand the network throughout the continent and is in discussions with government officials in Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other territories under-serviced by traditional mobile operators.

Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile.
Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile.

Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile said: “Economies around the world suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic with an impact on GDP growth and sub-Saharan Africa was no exception. It is encouraging to hear from business leaders on the ground that they are more confident than the IMF on the future path of economic growth with expectations that it will beat official forecasts.”

“Central to continuing growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is internet connectivity and its importance will only grow in the future. World Mobile’s network based on the sharing economy sells affordable network nodes to local business owners, so they have the power to connect themselves and others while sharing the rewards. This will enable more people to access the opportunities that internet connectivity creates.”

World Mobile’s balloons will be the first to officially launch in Africa for commercial use, offering a more cost-effective way to provide digital connection to people and is the first step in its mission to help bring nearly four billion people online before 2030 in line with the UN and World Bank’s SDGs.

FDI, improved internet connectivity boost

In early June, ITWeb Africa reported that according to World Mobile, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and improved internet connectivity is helping Africa attract funding and a large percentage of business leaders on the continent say its tech start-up ecosystem will attract over US$10-billion in funding by 2025.

This compared with the US$4.9-billion raised last year, the company stated, and around one in six (16%) believe more than US$15-billion will be raised.

Watkins added: “Africa is seen as ripe for economic expansion by its own business leaders and technology will play a vital role in delivering the development. The potential is huge as currently Africa only accounts for 0.2% of the global money invested in technology start-ups so there is capacity for growth and huge interest from Western and Chinese foreign direct investment.”

* Independent research company PureProfile interviewed 100 senior executives at companies based in Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tanzania during April 2022 using an online methodology. The average revenue of businesses surveyed was US$70-million.

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