- Over the past three years, Africa has been the fastest growing market worldwide in communication technology and will continue to be an important market for the industry, said the Secretary General of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
Mr Hamadoun Touré who spoke at the opening of a major trade fair for the African telecommunications industry in the Egyptian capital on Monday, said the African information and communication technologies industry "is an exciting place to be."
Mr Touré said the industry's "market liberalization continues and most countries have established regulatory bodies to ensure a fair, competitive and enabling environment."
In a new report, the ITU said growth in Africa’s mobile telephone sector had "defied all predictions." The continent had 65 million new subscribers in 2007 alone, and mobile phone penetration has risen from just one in 50 people in 2000 to one third of the population today.
The use of mobile phone is now more evenly distributed across the continent today, compared to the beginning of the century when South Africa accounted for over half of all Africa's subscribers. However, by last year, almost 85% of mobile users were in other African countries.
The report estimated that there were some 50 million Internet users in Africa in 2007. This number represents about one person in 20. Only 3% of the sub-Saharan Africa population is online. The average monthly Internet subscription is estimated US $50, which is almost an average of 70% per capita income.
Dubbed "ITU Telecom Africa," the Cairo trade fair was inaugurated by President Hosni Mubarak. The three-day trade fair, which wraps up on Wednesday, provides opportunities to about 200 companies from 45 countries to exhibit their products. The event has also attracted some 70 heads of international companies and 50 government ministers.
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