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Facebook: Investments in Africa will yield $57bn in economic benefits

Facebook has released findings from a study that outlines in detail how its investments in infrastructure and connectivity across Africa will grow the continent’s economy by over $50bn over the next five years.


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The study, The Impact of Facebook’s Connectivity Initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa, was conducted by the London-based firm Analysys Mason.

The social media giant has over the years invested in infrastructure and partnerships to address barriers to connectivity, such as the lack of infrastructure and affordability.

Facebook’s connectivity initiatives

Facebook has launched a range of connectivity initiatives aimed at tackling these barriers, by providing financial and technical inputs that can make infrastructure easier and cheaper to deploy on the continent.

“At Facebook we’re committed to Africa and the role that we can play in improving the continent’s global competitiveness. Over the last three years we’ve heavily invested in infrastructure and connectivity initiatives that aim to affordably connect people on this continent and create tangible social-economic benefits,” said Facebook’s Africa Public Policy Director, Kojo Boakye.

“These efforts are part of a complex solution that requires all stakeholders – including mobile operators, infrastructure providers and governments – to work together for the common good. We are only 1% finished and remain committed to this exciting journey and working with all our partners along the way,” added Boakye.

Some of the economic benefits include the enhancement of operators’ ability to extend the coverage of broad networks, thus enabling more people to go online, the extensive report says.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, where connectivity challenges remain high and Internet usage is still limited to a minority of people, even modest improvements can have a significant effect on outcomes,” the study notes.

“These increases in take-up and internet traffic mean that people are more able to interact with each other, trade online and perform online transactions. All these activities create benefits for individuals and wider economic and social benefits through improved health and welfare outcomes, skills and education, job creation and productivity.”

These initiatives create socio-economic benefits for consumers, businesses and governments throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the researchers say.

“Individuals benefit through increased access to information and services, which leads to improved quality of life, health, education, and income. Businesses benefit from increased organisational efficiency and ease of reaching and communicating with customers. Governments can use better connectivity to boost efficiency and transparency, as well as increasing the reach and quality of e-government services.”

Overall, the report states, Facebook’s investments make data cheaper and more affordable for end-users, which drives growth in overall Internet usage.

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