GSMA, a global industry body for the mobile phone industry, today announced the results of its Mobile Economy report Africa, and one of the biggest takeaways is the fact that Africa now has 557 million unique subscribers to cellphone mobile services.

The report, unveiled at Mobile 360 Africa conference in Tanzania, is now open for anyone to read and collates statistics from the year of 2015.

“By the end of 2015, there were 557 million unique subscribers in Africa, accounting for 965 million connections. Africa is the second largest region behind Asia Pacific in terms of unique subscribers (12% of the global subscriber base) but is also the least penetrated,” The report reads.

“At the end of 2015, less than half of the population subscribed to mobile services, well below the global average of 63%, and lower than that of the Middle East (58%), Asia Pacific (62%) and Latin America (65%).”

South Africa, along with Egypt and Nigeria account for the three largest markets and a third of the total subscriber base.

Another key point from the report is a $153 billion (R2.1 trillion) contribution to African countries’ GDP from mobile services.

This industry also apparently employs 1.3 million people on the continent, plus an additional 2.4 million indirectly. This is helped by the reported 310 active tech hubs including 180 business incubators and accelerators.

As impressive as all these numbers are, they’re also set to increase in the coming years with predicted data provided for 2020 included in the report.

While you can read the entire report, there is also a handy infographic summing up the key points and numbers which you can read below.


Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of