The contribution of the Internet to the growth of Africa's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is on the upswing with about $18 billion added to the continent's economy according to a new study which will be unveiled next month at the ITU Telecom World 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The study jointly conducted by global consultancy firm McKinsey & Co and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) which was made available to LEADERSHIP Sunday covers the topmost 14 countries that control 90 per cent of Africa's GDP. It reveals that around 50 per cent of urban Africans are online despite limited infrastructure and disposable incomes.
This is significantly lower than the contribution in other emerging markets and developed markets. "The leapfrogging effects of the Internet make it the most interesting development on the African continent since the wide-scale adoption of mobile phones," Armando Cabral, co-author of the report and Director at McKinsey & Company.
The study asserts that, similar to the mobile revolution, the Internet and roll out of broadband could have massive impact in Africa, far beyond what we have seen today, and could contribute hundreds of billions of dollars to Africa's GDP, have a transformative impact in key economic sectors, support a step-change in education and health outcomes, and strengthen public services.
To achieve these gains though, leaders in both government and business will need to make bold commitments to growth - and raise innovation and investment to unprecedented levels. McKinsey & Co will join ITU Telecom World 2013 in Bangkok, November 19-22, 2013 as Knowledge Partner, co-hosting sessions on the economic and transformative impact of the Internet in Africa where it will unveil its upcoming "Lions Go Digital" report.
The report looks at the potential economic impact of the roll out of broadband and Internet adoption; how different stakeholders can play a role in ensuring economic growth through Internet use as well as the potential transformative impact of the Internet and technology on the African continent - positive effects of leapfrogging in financial services, retail and healthcare and how these may be taken to scale.