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Mobile Internet Adoption in West Africa (English)

Mobile broadband internet is the main technology through which individuals access the internet in developing countries. Understanding the barriers to broadband adoption is thus a priority in designing policies aiming to expand access and close the digital divide across socioeconomic groups and territories. This paper exploits data from harmonized household expenditure surveys in seven countries in West Africa in 2018/19—a subregion with one of the lowest levels of mobile internet penetration in the world—to identify the main factors that limit mobile broadband internet adoption. Results show that low levels of household consumption and prices of services are two key constraints. One standard deviation increase in household expenditure, about US$65 per capita per month, is associated with a 6.5 percentage point rise in the probability of adoption, while one standard deviation drop in the price of mobile internet services, about US$3.60, increases the probability of adoption by 2.4 percentage points. Other determinants include demographic characteristics (sex, age, language, urban location), socioeconomic features (educational attainment, sector of employment), and other factors linked to policy (access to electricity, ownership of assets, alternative means of internet access). Results are robust to specifications focusing only in areas with mobile internet coverage (3G).


  • Author

    Rodriguez Castelan,Carlos, Granguillhome Ochoa,Rogelio, Lach,Samantha, Masaki,Takaaki

  • Document Date


  • Document Type

    Policy Research Working Paper

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  • Volume No


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  • Country

    Western Africa,

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  • Doc Name

    Mobile Internet Adoption in West Africa

  • Keywords

    Poverty and Equity; Global System for Mobile Communications; Broadband; access to the internet; ordinary least squares regression; price elasticity of demand; information and communication technology; mobile internet services; household expenditure survey; access to mobile; Access to Electricity; broadband internet; per capita expenditure; household and individual; household consumption; household budget survey; coefficient of variation; ict indicator; linear probability model; cost of living; change in prices; cumulative distribution function; level of consumption; gross national income; personal digital assistant; access to job; relatively high rate; role of prices; terms of education; household survey data; access to internet; access and connectivity; ownership of asset; standard deviation; household size; data transfer; digital technology; marginal effect; financial inclusion; descriptive statistic; consumption threshold; robustness check; mobile service; individual level; urban residence; internet usage; lower price; employment status; homogeneous good; demographic characteristic; Employment Sector; Ownership Share Type; coverage area; urban location; rural area; selection bias; individual characteristic; broadband service; enumeration area; Gender Gap; rural resident; ICT Industry; first stage; present analysis; monthly data; price variable; model specification; digital divide; population group; alternative mean; geographic area; other sectors; social network; Digital Literacy; living condition; broadband data; broadband connection; present study; penetration rate; Informal Work; income bracket; brazilian data; sampling method; competitive environment; welfare indicator; Learning and Innovation Credit; electricity grid; mobile telephone; internet connectivity; study area; monetary data; broadband infrastructure; measuring welfare; empirical estimation; empirical application; literature review; old people; research effort; economic shock; demographic factor; internet infrastructure; macroeconomic variable; urban dweller; poor household; younger respondents; mobile money; urban resident; spatial variation; market price; sector employees; Broadband Access; measurement error; local subsidiary; household level; total consumption; rural dweller; digital mapping; monthly allowance; messaging service; mobile device; low share; data service; market penetration; largest markets; labor sector; education level; urban household; price drop; price decline; unit increase; digital television; unit price; statistical significance; point estimate; urban agglomeration; affordable price; geographic level; empirical literature; individual welfare; knowledge gap; income elasticity; cross-country data; pricing system; research exploring; potential barrier; conceptual framework; coverage system; new entrant; market power; digital infrastructure; recent studies; agricultural jobs; high road; mountainous area; road density; low rate; exclusion restriction; missing value; educational level; baseline model; idiosyncratic error; functional form; utility function; consumer budget; utility maximization; Research Support; open access; development policy; household welfare; recent evidence; serious implications; cooperative effort; household financial; recent years; exchange rate; Exchange Rates; national statistical; lower rate; designing policy; consumption datum; alternative measure; consumption survey; individual access; digital content; interesting case; average price; data limitation; cross-country comparison



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Rodriguez Castelan,Carlos Granguillhome Ochoa,Rogelio Lach,Samantha Masaki,Takaaki

Mobile Internet Adoption in West Africa (English). Policy Research working paper,no. WPS 9560 Washington, D.C. : World Bank Group.