Mauritius Has Best Telecoms Industry In Africa, But Africa Still Far Behind Asia

Farai Mudzingwa Avatar
Infrastructure sharing

Budde Comm released their African Market Report and this report contains the Telecoms Maturity Index (TMI) of all African countries and the TMI measures and ranks the maturity of a country’s telecoms industry on a scale of 1 to 100. All countries are placed into one of three categories: ‘Market Leaders’, ‘Market Challengers’ and ‘Developing Nations’, according to their Market Index score.

Who are the top dogs in Africa?

Mauritius is achieved the most outstanding TMI in Africa with a maturity score of 43. According to Budde Comm they achieved this score because their broadband sector was stimulated by the thriving tourism market in the country.

Mauritius Telecom also invested Rs5.1 billion (US$74.76m) to roll out fibre across the island, and the project which was expected to be complete in 2020 was way ahead of schedule and saw completion last year. There is also widespread DSL(telephone line based internet) infrastructure.

Ghana and Tunisia are a second and third with maturity index’s of 34 and 31 respectively.

Africa VS Asia

For context’s sake in Asia the Market Leaders are South Korea (92), Hong Kong (90) and Macau (86). The lowest market challenger in Asia, Brunei has a TMI of 47 which is higher than Africa’s Market Leader. Surprisingly, China has a TMI of 49 which seems a bit low for what we’ve come to think of China. Anyway, Thailand is the leader among Market Challengers with a rating of 51.

The Latin America and Europe reports are not yet out so we can’t really make that comparison but it’s fair to make the assumption that these are more developed than Africa. We’ll see when those come out…

African market challengers & developing nations

The market challengers are Mauritania (13), Uganda (13) and Kenya (12). The term Market challengers does not mean these countries are the next best as countries such as Botswana (30.7) and a host of other countries are actually above the market challengers and closer to the top 3.

The top 3 developing nations are Angola (7), Chad (7) and Cameroon (6). I’m not sure what Zimbabwe’s TMI is as this was not listed in the summaries. We don’t have the full report which actually costs $3K and can be purchased here.

Who has the highest internet penetration rates?

Due to the size and diversity of markets within Africa have contributed to varied market penetration rates. By early 2018 the highest mobile penetration was found in countries including Gabon (163%), Sudan (147%) and Mauritius (146%). One of the issues encouraging high penetration rate in Africa is the issue of subscribers having two SIMs -as many Zimbos would know- and Budde Comm acknowledged this:

To some degree high penetration reflects the popularity of consumers having multiple SIM cards despite efforts among most regulators to enforce measures by which operators must register SIM card users

Mobile is king in Africa

Budde Comm noted that mobile telephony is the dominant telecom service in Africa by far. Mobile telephony accounts for more than 90% of all telephone lines. Here’s what the report says about the rise of mobile:

Given the very poor condition of fixed-line infrastructure in most markets, mobile internet access as a consequence also accounts for between 95% and 99% of all internet connections


It’s an interesting report and even though this is just a glimpse of the telecommunications industry it does give us some perspective and interesting discussions are bound to result from this.


  1. Anonymous

    Broadband is still just too expensive in Zimbabwe. Prices generally fall as technologies mature but things have refused to go down in Zimbabwe. I can’t believe that a heavily throttled paltry 5Mbps ‘fibre’ connection still costs nearly $150/month in 2018. That is 10 x more expensive and 20 x slower than what you would get elsewhere on the globe

    1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

      I think prices also have to do with the money telcos have invested in laying fibre. Unfortunately, our gvt was in no state to help fund laying of fibre as is in other countries. Secondly, we don’t have high enough population densities to bring down the cost of fibre to home. I always hear people talking of how cheap and easy it is to get fibre installed in your home in S.A. I always explain to them that the major cities in Gauteng, i.e Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni,Mogale City,West Rand,Pretoria and Sedibeng are just one big metro with more than 13 million people living there. As such the cost of fibre is low as a telco is concentrating on a small geographical area.

  2. $$$

    A comparison of prices I think it’s over due… Between networks as well as internationally