Published date : 30 May 2023

Smartphone Penetration Rates in Africa

Smartphones are essential for accessing digital financial services, such as mobile banking apps and mobile money platforms. A challenge to smartphone penetration data in Africa, is the fact that many individuals who might possess a smartphone in Africa, may possess a smartphone without the financial means to procure a data subscription for internet connectivity on the phone, making the smartphone useless in being a financial inclusion enabler. For this reason, a country like Tanzania may have 86% smartphone penetration rates, but only a 25% internet penetration rate. In rural areas, instead of smartphone adoption, most have older feature phones, which don’t have the capacity to run applications on it. With the above-mentioned data limitations in mind, the top 20 wealthiest countries in Africa are doing relatively well with smartphone penetration rates, with 15 out of 20 of these countries being above the world average of 67.1%. According to the GSMA, Nigeria tops Africa’s smartphone connections with 163 million subscribers. South Africa has 107 million subscribers, while Egypt has 102 million subscribers.

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