Business Development Opportunities for ISPs in Sub Saharan Africa

Posted by Peter Heinicke on Sun, Sep 30, 2012 @ 08:38 PM

Though it is home to over thirteen percent of the world's population, Africa (and namely, Sub Saharan Africa) continues to account for only around three percent of internet usage, globally.  In fact, the internet saturation rate in the former colonies of France, Belgium, and Portugal is currently at less than two percent. Though these numbers are extremely low, it is not predicted that they will remain this way for long. Thanks to business development in Africa the growing popularity of internet services provided via mobile devices, internet service providers should expect to enjoy excellent business opportunities in the Sub Saharan regions.

Why are internet saturation rates so low in Sub Saharan Africa?

At present, the cost of the internet in the Sub Saharan regions of Africa are truly astronomical. In most areas the price for online access can be as high as $350 per month! This is higher than the per capita annual GDP in some places. This is largely due to the fact that in many Sub Saharan areas, ISPs are still required to rely on foreign internet providers for bandwidth via satellite.This process is far more expensive than obtaining bandwidth through undersea cable.

The old style copper based telephone systems which allowed dialup access to the internet are very poor and sparsely distributed. In some countries, three digits was sufficient to cover the entire country's telephone number system (not counting country code) before mobile coverage became available. In addition to the high cost of internet access, there are still a great deal of African people who lack education and training on how to use the world wide web. This is a trend that is rapidly changing, however, as more and more Africans are making use of mobile devices which offer internet access.

Lastly, the number of internet service providers in Sub Saharan Africa are few. As business development in Africa continues to increase, however, it is believed that Africa will make greater strides in providing a submarine cable system for internet access and more providers will be required.

What business opportunities are available to internet service providers in Sub Saharan Africa?

With business development in Africa on the rise, more and more companies and merchants are beginning to realize the importance of internet access to their success. The usage of online services are critical in the sales products, regardless of whether or not products being sold are hand made. Because of this, businesses in Sub Saharan Africa are turning their attention to finding affordable and reliable internet service providers in order to boost both marketing and sales.

Due to the fact that many African people are not up to speed with much of the world with regards to their understanding of how to best use the internet, internet service providers in Sub Saharan Africa would benefit from expanding their services. Instead of simply providing internet access, internet service providers could benefit greatly from offering training intended to help with business development in Africa. These training sessions could show African business people how to create and manage their web sites, how to use the internet to properly market their products (via social media, blogs, etc.), and how to allow for sales transactions online. 

The mobile market is obviously critical to internet service providers in Sub Saharan Africa. With more and more peoples joining the ranks of the rest of the world as they access the internet through their mobile devices, it is certain that more internet service providers will be required in these regions to keep up with the demand. Mobile internet access will assuredly play an important role increasing the internet saturation levels throughout Africa and in boosting business development in Africa.

Many African people have turned to cyber cafes to go online. In fact, the country of Zimbabwe has made a concerted effort to provide at least one internet cafe in each major city. This is yet another great strategy for business development in Africa. Internet Service providers and business owners alike will profit greatly as more Africans are learning the importance of being online.  

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Tags: Business Development in Africa

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