Many research institutes and consultancies have established a direct link between enhanced internet penetration and economic prosperity in multiple sectors; the latest in these series comes from PricewaterhouseCoopers, suggesting that revenues from the entertainment and media segments in Kenya will exceed $3.1 billion (Sh276.7 billion) within five years because of rising internet penetration.

“Kenya recorded $1.7 billion (Sh151.74 billion) in entertainment and media revenues in 2013, and this is forecast to rise to $3.1 billion (Sh276.7 billion) in 2018. Once again, it is internet access that is driving growth. Television and radio will account for combined $1 billion (Sh89.26 billion) plus of revenues at the end of the forecast period,” it read.

The report further established that this was a trend that applied to Nigeria and South Africa. It predicts that revenues in Nigeria, which has the biggest entertainment and media industry in Africa, will hit $8.5 billion in 2018; this is more than double the 2013 figure of $4 billion. Also, television subscriptions and advertising in South Africa is projected to reach $3.5bn by 2018.

“Increased internet access will generate more consumer spend than any other media product or service in the next five years in the South African entertainment and media industry. Nigeria’s entertainment and media revenues represents one of the fastest growth rates in the world,” the report further read.

The internet has become a driving force of productivity for Africa, so much so that Africa’s iGDP, the internet’s contribution to GDP, has been placed at $18 billion by McKinsey & Company, and projected to grow to $300 billion by 2025. A number of submarine cables laid between 2009 and 2012 including Seacom, East African Submarine Cable System (EASSY) and the West African Cable System (WACS) spiked coverage and connectivity across Africa and now, more Africans, according to M&C Saatchi Mobile, have access to a mobile phone than drinking water.

With these fundamentals in place and many more underway, penetration levels will continue to increase, translating into significant economic returns and further development.

By Emmanuel Iruobe

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