The poverty reduction effects of mobile broadband in Africa: Evidence from Nigeria

The GSMA and the World Bank published a study that investigates how mobile broadband access can affect the welfare of people in Africa – particularly those living in poverty. The study which hinges on data from Nigeria, the largest mobile market and economy in Africa, found that the deployment of mobile broadband infrastructure has played a significant role in increasing household welfare and reducing poverty in the country. For example, having at least one year of mobile broadband coverage increases total consumption by about 6%, which reaches 8% after two years of coverage. To this aim, the report calls upon governments to take action in supporting the development of mobile broadband to alleviate poverty and spur inclusive growth across Africa. It further provides three policy lessons: (a) expanding broadband coverage to rural and remote areas can reduce extreme poverty, (b) policies to address the usage gap across socioeconomic groups are necessary to ensure everyone benefits from digital technologies, (c) complementary policies are needed to realise the social and economic benefits of digital connectivity for all.