NEWS out of Zimbabwe’s this week was that the economy has contracted by half in the past fifteen years, which now means that 84% of Zimbabweans work in the informal sector, based on a survey by the Zimbabwe Statistics Office. In a country of 14 million, just 700,000 have formal jobs, split almost equally between the state and private companies.
But there’s a bigger story about informality, financial inclusion and jobs - as well as the potential of mobile and the Internet, which we have rounded up for you:
1. The majority of Africans do their shopping in small, local, informal outlets – these account for 70% of purchases in Kenya, 96% in Ghana, and 98% in Nigeria and Cameroon, data from Nielsen shows.
2. The most common shopping channel of all on the continent is the simple table-top, or stall: a stand set up on the side of the road or in a local market to capture passing trade. A good 80% of consumers shop from these table-tops, according to Nielsen data, of which there are no less than 200,000 in Nigeria alone.
3. In Kenya, there are just 22,000 mortgage loan accounts in the country, statistics from the Central Bank of Kenya show. This is just a small fraction of what is required by the population of the capital city, Nairobi, alone. The population of Nairobi currently stands at over four million.
4. Mauritius leads Africa in ATM density; in the country of 1.2 million, there are about 1,000 ATMs for every 100,000 people – far ahead second place South Africa that has 59.8 ATMs per 100,000 people, and Botswana third at 30.6, data from the African Development Bank shows.
5. Chad, Sierra Leone and Rwanda have some of the lowest ATM density, at less than 1 ATM for every 100,000 people. Chad stands at 0.36, Sierra Leone at 0.43 and Rwanda at 0.81.
6. Mauritius also leads Africa in financial inclusion with more than 80% of the adult population having a bank account; South Africa is second at 54%. Some of the lowest rates are found in Central African Republic (3%), Democratic Republic of Congo (4%) and Guinea (4%).
7. But even if individuals may not have bank accounts, small formal businesses almost always do: 99% of Botswana SMEs have bank accounts, similar figures are found in South Africa (98%) and Swaziland (98%); having a bank account is almost always a requirement of formalisation.
8. Even in a country like Chad, where just 9% of individuals own a bank account, 96% of formal SMEs do.
9. Agriculture and agribusiness fuel the livelihoods of 70% of Africans and contribute over 40% of the continent’s GDP. But only about 10% of Africa’s commercial bank lending goes to agriculture and agro-industries.
10. It is estimated that African agricultural output could more than triple from $280 billion to $880 billion by 2030 if farmers were able to access the finance they need to expand both the quality and quantity of their produce.
11. Africa has some of the lowest rates of car ownership – Kenya has just 9 cars for every 1,000 people, Nigeria has 13, Ivory Coast 16, Zimbabwe 45, and South Africa 103. By contrast there’s nearly 500 cars for every 1,000 people in Europe.
12. If Internet access achieves an impact on the same scale as mobile telephony has in Africa, it could account for as much as 10% of total GDP by 2025, up from only 1% today, data from McKinsey showed. This would be equivalent to over $300 billion due to the Internet’s transformational effects on sectors such as retail, agriculture, education and healthcare.
13. Submarine cables now provide 20-times more international bandwidth than was the case in 2010. In North Africa alone, bandwidth increased 36% in 2014-2015, while in Sub-Saharan Africa it grew 39%. Submarine cables have been designed with vast capacity, and by mid-2015 barely 8% of capacity was being utilised. The total length of terrestrial infrastructure has also more than doubled during the last five years.
14. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 53% of all live mobile money services globally, and, in East Africa, one in two mobile connections is linked to one.
15. But there’s still a 13% gender gap in mobile phone ownership overall in the region, with men typically more likely to own a mobile phone. Niger and the Democratic Republic of Congo have particularly large gender gaps in mobile phone ownership of 45% and 33% respectively.