Africa digital


Digitalizing Sub-Saharan Africa

Preya Sharma, Martha Tesfaye Woldemichael

June 25, 2020

iStock by Getty Images/Adene Sanchez

In This Episode

While connectivity in sub-Saharan Africa lags behind other regions, digitalization is advancing fast and being embraced by those who do have access. Some countries are now global leaders in mobile money transactions—with a share of GDP average close to 25 percent, compared to just 5 percent in the rest of the world. In a region where infrastructure is often lacking, digital technologies offer ways to break down or leap over barriers. IMF economists Preya Sharma and Martha Tesfaye Woldemichael are co-authors of the latest analytical chapter for the Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa, which studies the impact of digitalization. In this podcast, Sharma and Woldemichael say expanding internet access in sub-Saharan Africa by an extra 10 percent of the population could increase real per capita GDP growth by 1 to 4 percentage points.


Preya Sharma is an economist in the IMF's African Department.

Martha Tesfaye Woldemichael is an economist in the IMF's African Department.

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Bruce Edwards

International Monetary Fund

Bruce Edwards produces the IMF podcast program. He's an award-winning audio producer and journalist who's covered armed conflicts, social unrest, and natural disasters from all corners of the world. He believes economists have an important role in solving the world's problems and aspires to showcase their research in every IMF podcast.

Rhoda Metcalfe


Rhoda Metcalfe is an independent journalist and audio producer. Her reporting on the armed conflict in Colombia in the late 90s, as well as her work in Egypt, Turkey and South Africa has won several awards. She now produces podcasts and radio features from Washington DC and is a regular contributor to the IMF Podcast program.