Cape Verde

Cape Verde
Cape Verde

Regulatory Agency: Agência de Regulação Multissectorial da Economia (ARME)

GDP- telecommunications share of GDP: Cape Verde’s gross domestic product (GDP) was $2 billion in 2020, with a growth rate of -14.8% due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the decline in tourism. The telecommunications sector contributed 5.2% of the GDP in 2020, down from 5.6% in 2019. The sector employs about 5,000 people and provides services to over 0.7 million subscribers.

Regulatory Journey and Evolution of the Industry: Cape Verde’s telecommunications industry has undergone several reforms and developments since the liberalization of the sector in 1995. The main regulatory body is the Agência de Regulação Multissectorial da Economia (ARME), which oversees the licensing, regulation, and monitoring of telecommunications operators and service providers. The main policy framework is the Estratégia Nacional para a Sociedade da Informação e Economia Digital 2017-2021 (ENSIED), which aims to promote the development and use of ICTs for socio-economic development. The main operators in the market are CV Móvel, the leading mobile and fixed-line operator, Unitel T+, the second-largest mobile operator, CVMultimédia, the third-largest mobile and fixed-line operator, and CVTelecom, the state-owned fixed-line operator. The main services offered by the operators include voice, SMS, data, internet, and mobile money.

Cape Verde has made significant progress in its digital transformation journey, especially in the areas of internet penetration and access, mobile connectivity, e-commerce growth, digital payments, ICT infrastructure, startups and innovation, digital skills and education, and government digital initiatives. Some of the key indicators that reflect the extent to which digital technologies facilitate economic, social and public (e-government) interactions are:

  • Internet Penetration and Access: The percentage of the population with access to the internet increased from 37.8% in 2015 to 64.8% in 2020, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The main modes of internet access are mobile broadband and fixed wireless broadband. The average cost of 1 GB of mobile data is $3.2, which is 16% of the average monthly income, according to the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI). The main challenges for internet access are the lack of affordability, availability, and quality of service.
  • Mobile Connectivity: The prevalence of mobile phone usage, especially smartphones, reflects the accessibility of digital services. The mobile penetration rate was 115.8% in 2020, with 0.7 million active mobile subscribers, according to the ARME. The smartphone penetration rate was 40% in 2020, with 0.2 million smartphone users, according to the GSMA. The main drivers for mobile connectivity are the low cost of SIM cards, the availability of mobile money services, and the increasing demand for social media and online entertainment.
  • E-commerce Growth: The volume and value of online transactions and e-commerce activities demonstrate the extent to which digital platforms are used for buying and selling goods and services. The e-commerce market size was estimated at $15 million in 2020, with a growth rate of 25% per year, according to the E-commerce Foundation. The main e-commerce platforms are Jumia, Afrikrea, Afrimarket, and Zando. The main challenges for e-commerce growth are the low level of trust, the high cost of delivery, the lack of digital payment options, and the low awareness of online shopping.
  • Digital Payments: The adoption of digital payment methods, such as mobile wallets and online banking, indicates the shift from traditional to digital financial transactions. The percentage of adults with an account at a financial institution or a mobile money service provider increased from 26.2% in 2014 to 42.3% in 2017, according to the World Bank. The percentage of adults who made or received digital payments in the past year increased from 18.9% in 2014 to 32.7% in 2017, according to the World Bank. The main digital payment platforms are CV Móvel Money, Unitel T+ Money, CVMultimédia Money, and CVTelecom Money. The main challenges for digital payments are the low level of financial inclusion, the high cost of transactions, the lack of interoperability, and the regulatory barriers.

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