Africa Now Has More Mobile Subscribers than the US or EU

Christopher Mims, Quartz, December 20, 2012

Africa’s mobile phone market is now 650 million subscribers strong, reports the World Bank, which means it’s bigger than either the United States or European Union. The number of mobile phones in Africa has grown 40-fold since 2000.

Africa’s mobile telecom market is second only to Asia in scale, and it’s growing almost as fast.

If current trends continue, in 2016, Africa’s spending on computers, software, telecoms (referred to in these charts as ICT) could be 50-80% higher than it was in 2009.

One of the reasons mobile phones are so popular in Africa is that land lines are expensive. But the rush to mobile seems to be having second-order benefits on economic development. As the World Bank notes in a recent report on information and communication technology (ICT) in Africa (PDF):

Over the previous 25 years, a 10% increase in the penetration rate of mobile phones had been associated with a 0.8% boost in GDP per capita in developing countries, while the same increase in broadband networks could add a further 1.4% to general economic growth.


The World Bank argues that all this connectivity is bringing much-needed innovation to a continent with wide variability in the quality of its infrastructure. {snip}



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  • Token Finn

    Cell phones seem to have a detrimental effect on male fertility. Perhaps they will help with Africa’s booming population and soon they’ll talk about whites spreading cell phones because they hate blacks for their skin.

  • DudeWheresMyCountry?

    The World Bank says all this connectivity is bringing much needed innovation to the continent. The truth is all this is just a money maker for the global elitists. Innovation can’t happen with hundreds of millions of Africans with a 65 median IQ, no matter if they are holding a magic talking box in their hands.

  • Puggg

    Two thirds of a billion cell phone subscribers in Africa…yet still nothing worth listening to.

  • pcmustgo

    It’s because their gov’ts are too chaotic and disorganized to build roads, bridges, water lines, electric lines or phone lines…. cell phones are a perfect solution for at least the phone problem… ditto with India.

    • StillModerated

      Wrong! The white devils went over there and looted their glorious civilization.

      This comment is neither racist nor sarcastic! ;<))

    • Bison

      Actually India does have way better infrastructure than Africa. India has has a decent telephone cable network for landlines. In far flung rural areas maybe mobile phones are more reliable, I don’t know. It is just that when the prosperity levels were rising enough for people to afford a phone, the mobile phone phenomenon arrived and this was way more convenient [you could carry it and hence not wait for a call] and sometimes cheaper too [due to all the options available]. Now, almost every adult in the family has a mobile phone which is how you have more mobile phones than landlines or toilets. Of course India has it own issues on all level because of a few simple reasons – highly diverse/very multi-ethnic, large chunks/ethnicities have lower intelligence levels.

  • MekongDelta69

    And they still can’t get water out of the ground and live in one-floor mud and straw huts.

    But dey be havin’ a Obamaphone.

    • Anders

      They can ring someone up and say, ‘I’m hungry’, or ‘Can you dig our village a well please?’

    • They also do not have a toilet but they have a phone.

  • You Are Now Enriched

    We are paying for it.

    • 48224

      yeah….who pays for that nonsense? we have two phones and pay like $185 per month on a business plan.

  • fenway23

    Gotta have dem “sail foams!”

  • David Brims

    Blacks are obsessed with mobile phones, it’s a bling bling, status symbol. It makes them look important.

  • Pelagian

    But keep sending those fondue sets!

  • Pelagian

    Wouldnt it be hard to store a cell phone in a loin cloth?

  • I can imagine the conversations….OOK! OOK! EEK! EEK! Bixnood Muddafugger Gibsmedats! OOK OOK! SKREEEEE! Give the primates a shiny rock to play with instead.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    One of the reasons mobile phones are so popular in Africa is that land lines are expensive

    And cell phone towers and infrastructure are not?

    I live in the U.S., supposedly a wealthy nation, and I don’t have a cell phone. When you think about it, most of the time cell phones are used for frivolous purposes (“Honey, I’m at the grocery store, what kind of cheese did you want?”) or to make the driving experience even more dangerous.

    In Africa, they’re supposed to bring “innovation” while in India (where there are more cell phones than toilets), they’re supposed to “hold government leaders accountable.” Is there anything that these magical devices cannot do?

    • IstvanIN

      Cell phones towers don’t require as much maintenance as landlines. Long-distance, for instance, became much cheaper as the 1950s rolled on because AT&T Long Lines was able to utilize microwave towers rather than cross-country cables. Plus, as another poster noted, no copper cables to steal.

      • Tim_in_Indiana

        I’m not a telephone technician, but I see an awful lot of telephone wires when I go out. microwave towers don’t seem to have replaced the old-fashioned telephone pole. Even with cell and microwave, you still need to have all the physical infrastructure set up (and that includes a lot of wiring) or it won’t work.

        • IstvanIN

          The microwave towers are for long distance. Local landlines phone service, from the central office to your house, are still sent over copper lines.

      • Laager

        Stay alert.
        In South Africa the tracks are stolen from disused railway lines.
        Curtain walls are ripped off high rise buildings
        Lift [elevator] motors are stolen from non functional buildings as is all steel or cast iron plumbing.
        I know of steel farm sheds that have been stolen. Gold mines are being stripped of any steel asset
        It is just a matter of time before cell phone towers and electricity pylons are dismantled and carted off to the scarp yard to pay for a few day’s food from an unemployed exploding population.

    • Luis

      Sure, Cure male pattern baldness, for one.

  • 48224


  • Critic_of_Leviathan

    My favorite philosopher, Immanuel Kant, had the best explanation for the African cell-phone phenomenon nearly 250 years ago:

    “The blacks are very vain but in the Negro’s way, and so talkative that they must be driven apart from each other with thrashings.”

    In other words, even back then, they couldn’t shut the hell up.

    • eduard

      “From the curly crown of the kaffir, nothing straight will ever come”. – Immanuel Kant.

  • David Brims

    The ironic thing is they’re not saying anything important, it’s just babble.

    • IstvanIN

      They talk the most and have the least to say of any group.

      • HamletsGhost

        Empty barrels make the most noise goes the saying.

  • Tim_in_Indiana

    The World Bank argues that all this connectivity is bringing much-needed innovation to a continent with wide variability in the quality of its infrastructure

    Oh good, I guess this means I no longer have to send donations “to help the starving of Africa” (not that I ever was).

  • David Brims

    Now If only Apple could just make a computer that can plug into a tree or a goat, we could have the whole of Africa connected to the internet, wouldn’t that be great ?

    The downside is, more fake scam emails.

    • IstvanIN

      You can send/receive email from a phone now.

      • Dean Verge

        Searching for “money email scam” gives “Most of you have received an email from a member of a Nigerian family with wealth. It is a desperate cry for help in getting a very large sum of money …” as the top result.

        Fancy that.

    • Look up “One Laptop Per Child.” When the first batch was introduced, the “young men” immediately used them to start looking at porn.

    • OlderWoman

      Now they can text their Nigerian scams.

  • StillModerated

    They only have cell phones because copper wire won’t stay in place for long before it gets recycled at the scrap yard.

  • mike

    Six hundred fifty million blacks on cell phones. That’s a lot of drug pushers.

    • StillModerated

      It’s the ooking and the eeking of the she-beasts that’s loudest.

  • JDInSanDiego

    It’s a bigger market by number of subscribers but how much are they paying, 10 cents a month? Also, it’s my understanding that incoming phone calls are free there.

    They also have a huge market for expensive aids drugs but how much of the cost is passed onto them.

  • Johnnie Appleseed

    The African Economy is experiencing an economic revolution (See ““The Fastest Billion: The Story Behind Africa’s Economic Revolution,”. See also “As the Rest of the World Slows, Africa Accelerates”).

    I’m a little sad to see how you have allowed yourselves to be divided and conquered by the Global Elite Money holders.

    Isn’t your anger and rage directed at the wrong target, while the Global Elite continues to destroy the American Middle Class?

    The Real Median Wage for American Men has declined 28% since 1970. (See the article in the Financial Times titled “Times Grow Harder for the US Working Man”).

    Meanwhile, while the Global Elite has declared an open WAR on the American Middle Class, other regions Middle Classes are absolutely exploding.

    The Latin American Middle Class grew by 50% over the last decade (See the World Bank report titled “Economic Mobility and the Rise of the Latin American Middle Class’’, )

    The African Economy is experiencing an economic revolution (See ““The Fastest Billion: The Story Behind Africa’s Economic Revolution,” and see also, “As the Rest of the World Slows, Africa Accelerates”).

    Ya’ll know about the success of Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Japan and now even Vietnam, so I’m not going to touch on their profoundly amazing successes, other than to note that China has managed to lift 400 million of its citizens out of poverty and into the middle class over the last 20 years.

    Keep your anger and rage directed at the wrong target, while the Elite that has outsourced your Jobs to Eastern Europe, India, China, Russia etc. will in a few years send your kids to fight, bleed and die against many of the same nations that they sent your jobs to.

    Wake up and smell it. You have been effectively divided and conquered and are punching against the wind.

    Your misguided rage is being fueled by Satan.

    Pray for your nation and your fellow Americans because the time is short.

    Ask Jesus Christ into your heart.

    Blacks, Whites, Asians, Latino’s, Elite and Non-Elite, have all been made in Gods image and we, each and everyone of us, have sinned and fallen short of Gods glory.

    Thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for our sins, raising yourself from the dead and breaking and defeating Satans power over our lives.

    I am curious now and will have to search the web for similar sites by Americans of other ethnicities. There are undoubtedly segments that have also subcumbed to the divide and conquer strategy.

    • CharlesMartel

      You are barking up the wrong tree, sir. Jaaaaysus isnt going to be making the dregs of the Third World act like human beings anytime soon.

      • Johnnie Appleseed

        Charles Murray, the guy who wrote the “Bell Curve” that I have seen quoted in many comments on this website also wrote a book last year called “Coming Apart: The State of White America” that speaks of 100 Hundred Million White Americans falling by the way side here in America.

        The problems in America run a lot deeper than race. While you have been blaming Americans of other races, the ELITE have effectively removed money from your pocket over the last 40 years.

        Median Wage Stagnation.
        A 40 year phenomena only in America.

        • Sean

          Golly, who could have been behind all this mister?

          Oh wait, we know already. We just don’t say it for fear of indicting an entire people.

          • Johnnie Appleseed

            You have no one to blame but yourself for your blind faith in what your leaders have dished out to you.

            Remember what your Congress told you about NAFTA. Did you lap it all up like a good little boy? Remember what your Congress told you about the Commodities Futures Modernization Act and the doing away of the Glass-Steagall act? Did you lap it all up like a good little boy?

            You’ve allowed yourself to be divided and conquered and are on the road to slavery.

            The Elite has made QUICK WORK of the American Middle Class and you are contributing to their victory by blaming other Americans of various races.

            We have all been made in Gods image, white, black, asian, latino, indian, jew, catholic, protestant, muslim, atheist, gay, straight, elite, non-elite, worker, owner, etc. and we have all sinned and fallen short of Gods glory and are headed toward damnation. We need to ask Jesus Christ into our hearts to cleanse us from our sin and rescue us from Satans ploys.

          • Remember what your Congress told you about NAFTA. Did you lap it all up like a good little boy?


            Remember what your Congress told you about the Commodities Futures
            Modernization Act and the doing away of the Glass-Steagall act?

            When Sam Francis took over editorial responsibilities of the Citizens Informer in late 1999, the official publication of the Council of Conservative Citizens, an organization you would accuse of being racial divisionists and pawns of the global elite, the headline article of the first issue under Sam’s editorship was “Glass-Steagall, R.I.P.” In it, the author (not Sam Francis) predicted the consequences of its repeal, which had just happened, fairly spot-on as it turned out. Sam got some heat for running a non-racial headline article in the official pub of an org whose paramount concern is race. But…not that Sam could have predicted it, and not that the author of that article did predict it, but the racial aspects of the subprime circus did cross over into the tragedy.

          • Johnnie Appleseed

            The initial defaulters on the subprime mortgages were the wealthy who looked on the multiple residences they owned merely as investments to be flipped and discarded as soon as it no longer brought a viable return on investment.

            It would be so comfortable for you to blame the subprime mortgage thing on race.

            Fannie Mae was in place since the 1930’s and the community reinvestment act was in place since the 1970’s.

            It was only when banks thought that they could offload junk risk free to investors via securitization did they engage in massive fraudulent lending.

            But the investors are at fault too because it was investors who, during the low interest rate environment of the early 2000’s(low interest rates because of the gross misallocation of resources during the late 1990’s bubble) were BANGING DOWN their bankers doors demanding more of this “magic” high return, “low” risk” mortgage securities that were miraculously graded “A” by the rating agencies.

          • Back to square one. You’re explaining consequences of the bubble. I’m explaining who blew the bubble and why. Racial pandering based on neo-conservative egalitarian racial ideology (Jack Kemp, opportunity society, etc.) is the genesis of the bubble. The straw that stirred the drink was Bush 43’s demand, ultimately met, for no down payment mortgages, and Bush demanded such because DPs “discriminated” against blacks and Hispanics.

            Fannie Mae was in place since the 1930’s and the community reinvestment act was in place since the 1970’s.

            And the 1965 open borders act has been in place since 1965. It didn’t result in America becoming majority non-white by 1966. It, like Fannie Mae and the CRA, (A) Took time to act on their own, and (B) were turbocharged later on with similar legislation.

          • Michael_C_Scott

            I recall taking a good look at what was going on at the time and off-loading all the mortgage fund shares in my 401(k) and IRA accounts. Saved a bundle.

          • Tim_in_Indiana

            Thank you Reverend Ike.

            You have a strange way of mixing politics and religion.

        • TowardtheRisingSun

          The Elite robbing America blind and perverting her institutions is the same Elite that pushed to open our borders to the sub-humanity of the Third World…a certain chosen people.

          • Johnnie Appleseed

            Be careful. Satan is on the loose and infiltrating the hearts and minds of many in these later days. Don’t allow yourself to be used by one of his fallen angels. Turn to Jesus Christ who has already defeated Satan.

            Stop blaming a particular race or ethnicity. We are all made in Gods image. Each and everyone of us has sinned and have fallen short of Gods glory. Jesus Christ came for each and everyone of us, black, white, jew, catholic, protestant, asian, latino, indian, gay, straight, elite, non-elite, worker, owner, etc.

            You and other members of the American Middle Class have allowed yourself to be divided and conquered and are quickly on the road to slavery. Its just around the corner.

            When the Elite get you to blame your fellow American, it makes it easier for them to finish their divide and conquer strategy.

            Coming onto this website, the only ones that I see who seem to think that they are a “chosen people” are the commentators on this site, blind to to the destruction that is being meted out on all Americans.

      • StillModerated

        Ethiopia as a nation has an average IQ of 63 — lower than that of Liberia, but with a national church to unite them, the former is more stable than the latter because the best and brightest among them become the priests and bishops thereby providing moral guidance. So even a nation of dummies can organize themselves into a civilization. However, don’t expect any major medical breakthroughs, or a space program from them. Remember, Ethiopia only became a shite-house when commie socialists took over.

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      Stop posting the exact same comment on all the articles.

    • China still has a lot of poverty in the countryside. There are millions of young factory workers being paid low wages to put together the I phone, the Ipad and other electronic devices that they could never afford to buhy.

  • William Allingham

    This reminds me the situation of Latin America where people prefer to buy expensive jewelry or a television but have no proper house or are not willing to pay for a less expensive insurance or education.

    • The same thing as blacks in the US, I have seen many of them buy Cadillacs but do not have a decent home.

  • Ron Cheaters

    According to the black agenda Afrika has been “enriching” Europe for the past 50 years.. oh and they’re also lobbying obungo to reduce the number of blacks incarcerated accross the US… its so disgraceful, revolution now!

  • LHathaway

    I feel an inferiority complex coming on. This should have been re-written in order that it be less offensive to whites. Truth and objectivity are of secondary importance. In fact, they become a barrier to concepts of true justice. . .

    Shouldn’t this article conform to accepted standards of journalism?

  • bigone4u

    I’m surprised Africans have the intelligence to get the thing activated, remember which icon or button to push to make it work, or keep the battery charged. Cell phone use is not as simple as having a land line with a few number buttons on a simple dialpad.
    Since heavy cell phone use has been associated with brain cancer (not conclusively but possibly) cell phones might help in population control.
    Is it possible to have sex and talk on a cell phone at the same time? If not, again they might help with population control. Ditto driving while yakking on the phone.
    Where are they getting the money for the phone and the service?
    Will cell phones in conjunction with the Flynn effect turn these stone age cretins into mental giants in a generation? Hmm.
    Can the Africans call the USA on these things? Watch out for scam phone calls.
    So many possibilities here. Need some answers.

  • nobody

    Obamaphone International

  • That’s more cell phones than there are people and black people in Africa. Is it because for many of them they are free and they take all they want? Is there a demand for throw away phones? Do they need one for every room of the hut?

    • Flossie

      I suspect many of these alleged cellphone accounts are bogus or unused or disconnected — like Facebook pages. The Africans probably take out an account, use it without paying until it’s disconnected, then go get another. Sort of the way credit card and mortgage issuers operated here in the U.S. until the recent depression.

  • Michael_C_Scott

    Perhaps they can afford these because the developed West is providing everything else in black Africa for free: food, clothing, well-digging, mosquito-control, medication, etc., in addition to paying real money for African exports like oil, minerals, diamonds, coffee and cacao.

  • Obamaphones for EVERYONE!

  • arlington

    Look at the bright side. Maybe if the west can modernize Africa it will attract a half billion vagabonds to return to their roots. After all they proudly label themselves as African Americans in yo face style and imitate the culture of their root nation. The next most natural step is repatriate. But then again whites know this is fantasy because the west beginning with the great white savior of slavery has been nothing short of heaven on earth for them all and they never in a million years allow that gravy train to escape them.
    Free At Last Free At Last Thank Gawd Almighty Free At Last by MLK in 1968 is actually for their getting the hell out of that cesspool African death trap quagmire wretched jingled hellhole and into the blissful white man saviors world.
    They need to be on their knees worshiping their white saviors eternally but then again 100% of all ex-slaves took the surnames of their masters as an eternal tribute for what he and all the white elite ancestors did for them while never filing a single reparation lawsuit.
    The only problems came along after the spoiled pampered rotten brat descendants came along in the 20th century.
    Had the south won the was as it should have with France help, all negros would have safely
    returned to Africa. The northern Lincolnites and Marxists screw up a wet dream.

  • ageofknowledge

    and they get to pay much cheaper phone bills than the gouging their American mobile counterparts receive… just like prescription drugs and almost everything else. Our government will help companies gouge Americans but once you leave America you find the same services far cheaper. Thanks U.S. politicians for looking for your own best interests instead of “the people’s.” Thanks for nothing that is.

    • IstvanIN

      Keep this in mind, we pay for most of the world’s research through our higher prices, then other countries get the technology or drugs that we made possible without the initial expenditures. Also, we get taxed heavily on phone service, aren’t we still paying a Spanish-American War tax?

    • They probably do not pay the taxes that we pay on our cell phone bills such as Federal Universal service charge, 911 tax, county taxes and sales fees.

  • mendells-selection

    with all that “increase” in economic growth, they will still be on the negative side.

  • KingKenton

    Something tells me that the people of the U.S. and Europe paid for most of these phones through foreign aid. I wish I had the time to research it. Anyone know how these phones were paid for?

  • Laager

    Don’t know about the rest of Africa but in South Africa much mobile phone ownership is delivered through theft. As in the automobile industry where it is estimated that 30% of new car sales are stolen vehicle replacements.

  • PesachPatriot

    I wonder how long it will take for the majority of these cell phones to be shut off due to non-payment of the monthly bill for cell service. The cell/smart phone phenomena is hardly limited to africa…many poorer, rural parts of Asia(near east included), south america and eastern europe didn’t have the money, time or motivation to put up telephone poles and wires, smart phones are a lot smaller and cheaper so in many places the people skipped over 20th century communications tech and went straight to the smart phone networks. I think India and China will do much more useful things with their smart phones. In africa they will be used to call the witch doctor, arrange necklace parties, and call directly to the first world to beg for aid and reparations.

  • I’m disappointed in a lot of the comments here. Is it our goal here to ridicule blacks or is it to inform the world that whites have legitimate interests and are being targeted for genocide? While doing the former may make us feel witty, or release some of our anger, I think we should ask ourselves, before pushing the “post” button, if our comments are going to actually help our cause.

    Imagine you’re a young person fresh out of high school or college. You’re curious about pro-white movements and race-realism so you click on this article. What sort of impression would you get from reading the comments here?

    My comment, before reading the others, was going to be something along the lines of “that’s great. I hope Africa does improve its lot; that would be better for all of us, because it would slow the flow of Africans out of Africa.”

  • From what I understand, the price for monthly cell service is low so that many Africans can afford them.

  • PesachPatriot

    Reuben H has a pretty good point….venting and ranting are fun and sometimes necessary but hardly a way to make friends and influence people. My previous comment wasn’t the most useful. I’m just stressed out because there was a pretty violent crime in the hood this week a few blocks from my house. A market was held up and two men were killed in my sleep seaside tourist town. The robbers take was less than a hundred dollars. I’m pretty sure the town bigwigs are trying to keep it quite because now is the big moneymaking tourist season. Google delray beach+ atlantic avenue robbery and the article should be on the sun sentinel site and a few other florida media outlets. Obviously crime has been a fact of life in america but it shocks me that someone could murder two people for less than a full weeks minimum wage paycheck after taxes….