The Synergies Between Mobile, Energy and Water Access: Africa

This paper presents initiatives and business models for the mobile sector to better address challenges around energy and water access


From growth to maturity, African mobile markets have an increasing impact on economies and populations. In 2013, more than one in three Africans had at least 1 mobile subscription and GSM coverage was estimated to reach 76% of the African population (a total of more than 690 million persons). This booming mobile adoption contrasts with the lack of access to basic infrastructure: the electrification rate is estimated at 32% of the overall population, and the access to improved water at 63% with only 15% having access to piped connections.

In a context where mobile connectivity outgrew access to reliable and affordable electricity and access to clean water in the last 10 years, an increasing number of public and private organisations are leveraging mobile technologies to bridge the financial and physical divide that might prevent underserved populations from accessing basic life services.

Since 2013, the GSMA’s Mobile Enabled Community Services Programme has been supporting the African mobile industry to help solve the challenges of extending and enhancing access to energy and water services. The reach of the mobile industry’s infrastructure, (e.g. its telecom tower infrastructure and operators’ distribution channels), the growing traction of mobile financial services and the increasing opportunity to leverage Machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity, offer innovative pathways to achieve reliable energy access and increased water access for under-served communities.

This document presents current initiatives, business models and opportunities the mobile sector can play in Africa to better address development challenges around energy and water access.


Nique, M.; Opala, K. The Synergies Between Mobile, Energy and Water Access: Africa. (2014) 24 pp.

The Synergies Between Mobile, Energy and Water Access: Africa

Published 1 January 2014