The Internet is the quiet engine that drives South Africa and is currently responsible for 2 percent of the country’s GDP, according to World Wide Worx research, commissioned by Google South Africa. Google expects this figure to reach 2.5 percent by 2016.
Other key points from the report include -
- The sum of 59 billion Rand is estimated to be total spend of consumers, government and SMEs in the internet economy which includes products and services as well as access and infrastructure.
- Ecommerce is growing at 30 percent every year and shows no signs of slowing, the single biggest contributor to this being the airline subsector, via e-ticketing.
- 63 percent of formally recognised small and medium scale South African businesses have a website. SMEs with an online presence have been found to be far more likely to be profitable than those without.
- With 63 million active accounts, mobile phone penetration is put at a whopping 126 percent, a phenomenon attributed to the widespread use of dual SIM cards. 10 million phones are sold in SA every year, and it is projected that by 2013, 50 percent of these will be smartphones.
From the Google Africa blog -
The Internet Matters report encourages South Africa to put the Internet at the heart of its policymaking in order to remain competitive on the global stage. Some of the ways the government could do this include: investing in broadband infrastructure and putting in place policies to enable last-mile access by the private sector; unblocking regulatory challenges around right of way permits; taking a proactive approach with regards to reallocating unused spectrum; and making e-governance a reality by putting government services online; encouraging SMEs to have a strong presence online. We hope that this report will encourage both government and the private sector to take bold steps towards ensuring universal broadband access by 2020 as per government targets.