14 January 2016

Africa: Mobile Phone Access Explodes Across Africa

Photo: INEC Nigeria
A Nigerian goes to the polls.

Cape Town — The overwhelming majority of Africans - more than nine in every 10 people - now have access to mobile phones, says a new Afrobarometer survey of the continent's infrastructure.

The huge growth in the industry means that far more people have access to cellphones than to an electricity grid, paved or tarred roads, piped water or sewerage.

In a press release accompanying its latest report, published in Nairobi on Thursday, Afrobarometer says: "On average across 35 African countries, only about two-thirds of citizens live in communities with an electric grid (65 percent) and/or piped water infrastructure (63 percent), and less than one in three have access to sewerage (30 percent).

"More than three times as many have access to cell phone service (93 percent), while about half (54 percent) live in zones with tarred or paved roads."

The report says that across the continent, "despite some progress, infrastructure remains an enormous challenge. While a few countries have achieved universal coverage for electricity and piped water, and several have made major progress over the past decade, in other countries less than one in five citizens have access to these essential services...

"Sewerage is especially rare... and very little progress has been made over the past decade in expanding access to this service."

Afrobarometer is Africa's most comprehensive survey of public experiences and attitudes.

See the full report.

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