Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Digital Inclusion

MWC Kigali: GSMA's Max Cuvellier on Africa's mobile Internet usage gap

Head of Mobile for Development (M4D) at the GSMA, Max Cuvellier, spoke to Connecting Africa Editor Paula Gilbert at MWC Kigali 2023 about Africa's mobile Internet usage gap, the reasons it exists and ways to bridge the gap and bring more Africans online.

He explained the difference between the coverage gap – people living in areas without any mobile broadband coverage – and the usage gap – individuals who are not using the mobile Internet despite living in an area that is covered by a mobile network.

The GSMA's Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa Report for 2023, revealed that the coverage gap in Sub-Saharan Africa has narrowed to 15% but a considerable mobile Internet usage gap of 59% remains in the region.

"One thing to note is that Africa has a very young population so if you look at the adult population only it's about [an even] split. So out of the 85% covered you have about 43% who are using the mobile Internet and 42% who are not – but that 42% amounts to hundreds-of-millions of people and we need to bridge that gap," he said.

He spoke about the barriers keeping people offline, the most noteworthy being the high cost of mobile devices, a lack of digital skills, safety and security concerns, a lack of relevant content and services, and access issues like not having an identity document to get a SIM card or a lack of power to charge a device.

"There are a lot of inequalities in our physical world today, if we are not working hard on inclusion and bridging that usage gap, what we will just be doing is translating those inequalities online, and this is not the online world that we want," Cuvellier added.

He spoke about the opportunities that people are missing out on by not using the Internet and the practical solutions that the telecoms industry is putting in place to narrow the usage gap, especially for women.

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Africa can leverage GenAI for economic growth – Microsoft

A whitepaper on generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) and the future of work has found that the African continent, with its young population, can leverage AI to drive economic growth.

Registration opens for Africa Tech Festival 2024

Registration has opened for the 2024 edition of Africa Tech Festival, the continent's leading platform for technology innovators, specialists and thought leaders.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Follow us on X

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Cyber Revolution Summit
August 9, 2024
Gaborone, Botswana
Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives

Story

Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.

Story

The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.

Story

Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: May 2024

By Omdia Analysts

May 2024's telecoms highlights in the Middle East and Africa included African 5G subscriptions surpassing 5 million, growth from SpaceX's satellite Internet service Starlink, and a major fiber partnership in the Middle East and North Africa.

Story

How e-mobility could transform Africa's transport sector

By Francis Hook

ICT analyst Francis Hook delves into Africa's e-mobility sector and unpacks the challenges faced locally and the benefits the move to electric vehicles could bring to urban transport systems.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up
Tag id test-002