In its report entitled “Promoting the digital revolution in sub-Saharan Africa: what role for reforms? », The World Bank group reveals that the Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Mali and Niger are the biggest lagging behind in terms of ICT in sub-Saharan Africa. This situation weighs “heavily on the prospects for growth and poverty reduction” in these countries.
According to the World Bank Group, the ICT revolution is already experiencing its third wave in the world, but it has not yet reached most of the inhabitants of the above-mentioned countries. In these five countries, 64% of the population has an active mobile connection, compared to 71% in sub-Saharan Africa and 95% globally. Unlike Mali (60%) and Guinea (46%), market penetration rates are well below the sub-regional averages in the Central African Republic (22%), Chad (28%) and Niger (25%). ).
Access to financial service via mobile is still very low, especially in rural areas. In 2014, GSMA reported that only 12% of Mobile Money accounts were active in Chad, compared to 11% in Mali, 8 in Niger, 1% in Guinea and 0% in CAR. These numbers changed slightly in 2017.
In terms of Internet access, CAR, Chad, Guinea, Mali and Niger have only 5% of Internet users compared to 22% in sub-Saharan Africa. This means that 95% of the population of these countries are still disconnected due to a lack of broadband connection, compared to 78% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa and 56% of the world population.
As a result of these weaknesses, the five countries are excluded from the digital economy. The penetration rate for 3G SIM cards is still well below the regional average (18% in Niger, 22% in CAR, 36% in Guinea and Mali, 40% in Chad. This access to mobile broadband services is limited to urban areas, says the Bretton Woods institution.
To quickly reverse this trend, which risks seriously damaging the development ambitions of these nations in the long term, the World Bank is recommending some reforms. These relate to market competition, private sector participation, effective implementation of universal access and service policies and programs, tax relief.