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Telecommunications development and economic growth in Africa


  • Hopestone Kayiska Chavula


This study tries to assess the impact of telecommunications penetration on peoples' living standards in Africa through their impact on per capita income growth. This was motivated by the curiosity to find out if the telecommunications growth being experienced by African countries translates into economic growth through its impact on people's living standards. Barro's [1991] endogenous growth model is employed to estimate the impact of mobile, fixed telephone main lines and the use of the Internet on per capita income in a cross-country analysis covering 49 countries in Africa. The overall results indicate that the telephone main lines and mobile telephony have a significant impact on the people's living standards in Africa, while Internet usage does not have a significant contribution towards economic growth. However, when these countries are categorized into the three groups following the 2008 World Bank classification criteria of being upper-middle, upper-low and low-income countries, the results show that fixed telephony, mobile telephony and the Internet usage have a significant impact on growth in the upper-middle-income countries, while only the mobile telephone penetration has a significant impact on growth in both the upper-low-income and the low-income countries in Africa. The mobile growth effect is the largest among the country groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Hopestone Kayiska Chavula, 2013. "Telecommunications development and economic growth in Africa," Information Technology for Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(1), pages 5-23, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:titdxx:v:19:y:2013:i:1:p:5-23
    DOI: 10.1080/02681102.2012.694794

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael Enowbi Batuo, 2015. "The role of telecommunications infrastructure in the regional economic growth of Africa," Journal of Developing Areas, Tennessee State University, College of Business, vol. 49(1), pages 313-330, January-M.
    2. Torero, Maximo & von Braun, Joachim (ed.), 2006. "Information and communication technologies for development and poverty reduction: The potential of telecommunications," IFPRI books, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), number 0-8018-8041-6.
    3. Sang H. Lee & John Levendis & Luis Gutierrez, 2012. "Telecommunications and economic growth: an empirical analysis of sub-Saharan Africa," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(4), pages 461-469, February.
    4. John M. Luiz & Henry Stephan, 2011. "Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment of South African Telecommunications Firms into Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 222, Economic Research Southern Africa.
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