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Ghana has Africa’s highest mobile broadband usage rates

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International Telecommunications Union (ITU) says the country has a 33.3% penetration rate.

Ghana has Africa’s highest mobile broadband penetration rate, according to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

According to the ITU’s ‘The State of Broadband 2013’ report, 33.3 inhabitants per 100 in Ghana had access to mobile broadband in 2012, meaning the country ranks 49th in the world. Ghana has an estimated population of 25 million.

This is a figure that tops Africa in this regard, as Zimbabwe ranks after Ghana in 55th place with a 29.7% mobile broadband penetration rate, Namibia at 56th with 28.8%, Egypt at 60th with 26.9% and South Africa at 62nd with 26% (a full list of the African nations is listed below).

Ghana’s title as Africa’s top mobile broadband market is largely as a result of the high take-up of handsets in the country. According to BuddeComm research, Ghana has an estimated mobile penetration rate of 112%.

BuddeComm research also says that the country was among the first in Africa to privatise its incumbent operator as well as connect to the internet.

Award winning Ghanaian blogger, Mac-Jordan Degadjor (@MacJordaN on Twitter), says that another reason why Ghana has Africa's highest mobile broadband penetration rates is that the country views technology as a key aspect to developing its economy.

He also says that youth in the country are taking to internet services as technology becomes a way of life in the nation.

"Young people are becoming tech savvy and the data is available," Jordan told ITWeb Africa.

"The key word here is access to information," he added.

However, while Ghana is Africa's top mobile broadband performer, most African nations dominate the lower section of the ITU’s 170 country mobile broadband penetration list.

Four African countries, for instance, are ranked among ten countries with lowest mobile broadband penetration rates in the world: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Algeria and Equatorial Guinea.

Meanwhile, Singapore tops the global list with a mobile broadband penetration rate of 123.3%, Japan follows with 113.1% and the US sits in ninth position with 74.7%.

“Mobile broadband subscriptions overtook fixed broadband subscriptions in 2008, and show an astonishingly high growth rate of some 30% per year, the highest growth rate of any ICT, exceeding fixed broadband subscriptions by a ratio of 3:1 (up from 2:1 just two years ago),” says the ITU in the report.

“By the end of 2013, ITU predicts there will be 2.1 billion mobile broadband subscriptions,
equivalent to one third of the total global stock of mobile cellular subscriptions,” adds the report.

The ITU, though, paints a different picture for the state of fixed broadband penetration rates in the world.

Seychelles is the country with the highest fixed broadband penetration rate in Africa, as 11.7 inhabitants per 100 have access to the offering, resulting in the island nation ranking 62nd globally.

Meanwhile, the next African country to follow the Seychelles on the ITU fixed broadband list is Mauritius in 67th position with a 10.6% penetration rate. Tunisia at position 92 has a 4.8% penetration rate, while 106th ranked Egypt and 111th ranked South Africa respectively have 2.7% and 2.2% penetration rates.

Global rank Country Penetration rate
49 Ghana 33.3%
55 Zimbabwe 29.7%
56 Namibia 28.8%
60 Egypt 26.9%
62 South Africa 26%
65 Cape Verde 22.5%
69 Mauritius 21.5%
76 Botswana 16.6%
77 Sudan 16.4%
82 Libya 13.8%

Source: International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

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