McKinsey, ITU Telecom explore impact of Internet in Africa


At ITU Telecom’s flagship debate, networking and showcasing event in Bangkok, 19-22 November 2013, McKinsey will co-host two Forum sessions based on its upcoming “Lions Go Digital” report.

The Economic Impact of the Internet on the African Continent – 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.

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

“The leapfrogging effects of the Internet make it the most interesting development on the African continent since the wide-scale adoption of mobile phones,” said Armando Cabral, co-author of the report and Director at McKinsey & Company.

“Africa provides a tremendous example of the power of connected technologies to drive socio-economic development at an unprecedented pace and scale,” added ITU Telecom Executive Manager, Blaise Judja-Sato.

“We are particularly delighted to explore this phenomenon with the influential global audience at ITU Telecom World with the expert input of our Knowledge Partner, McKinsey.”

McKinsey’s Lions Go Digital report will officially launch at ITU Telecom World 2013. It builds upon McKinsey’s consumer report, “The rise of the African Consumer”, which was based on a large-scale survey of 15,000 urban consumers from 12 countries across 19 cities –representative of Africa’s diverse economies, languages and market maturities.

The report reveals that around 50 per cent of urban Africans are online despite limited infrastructure and disposable incomes. It also estimates that today the Internet contributes USD 18 billion to GDP across the 14 countries which account for 90 per cent of Africa’s GDP. This is significantly lower than the contribution in other emerging markets and developed markets.

The report 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.

In line with this recommendation, African Heads of State and Government along with industry leaders and international development experts will be meeting at the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali, Rwanda, 28-31 October, to push for the accelerated roll out of broadband as a means of driving socio-economic transformation on the African continent. It is a follow up to the Connect Africa Summit that was organized by ITU and the Government of Rwanda in 2007 to secure investment for the expansion of mobile and broadband connectivity in Africa.

McKinsey co-hosted several well-received Leadership Summit and Forum sessions last year at ITU Telecom World 2012 in Dubai. This partnership marks a continuation of ITU and McKinsey’s collaboration at ITU Telecom events.


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