SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Why it matters
The industry’s contribution
As a general-purpose technology, mobile improves the utilisation of labour and capital and increases productivity. Studies by the ITU have shown that a 10% increase in mobile broadband penetration causes a 1.5–2.5% increase in GDP. In 2022, mobile technologies and services generated 5% of global GDP, a contribution that amounted to $5.2 trillion of economic value added. In particular, 5G will add almost $1 trillion to the global economy in 2030, with benefits spread across all industries.
Mobile technologies also enable the formalisation of the informal sector. For example, mobile financial services can facilitate more effective monetary policy by shifting currency and assets into the formal financial system. Transferring resources from the informal to formal economy makes monetary tools more effective and supports efforts to achieve macroeconomic stability.
Furthermore, mobile technologies support employment. In 2022, mobile operators and the wider mobile ecosystem provided direct employment to around 16 million people across the world; in addition, the industry indirectly supported another 12 million jobs by stimulating employment in other sectors. Mobile money also creates opportunities for individuals to partner with operators to manage agent outlets, generating an additional source of income. The GSMA estimates that the number of registered agents grew by over 40% in 2022, reaching 17 million.
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Maximising mobile’s impact by 2030
In markets where mobile is the primary way of accessing the internet, increasing the use of mobile-enabled services and platforms for applying and searching for jobs can help to maximise mobile’s impact on SDG 8 by 2030. To do this, there is a need to promote digital skills and education across all parts of society. This should be coupled with creating smarter laws to protect personal data, giving people greater confidence to do more tasks online.
Tonema uses mobile internet to buy fabric and materials which she uses to create products for her clothing business. Alongside her work, she supports her family by cooking new recipes she’s learnt from watching YouTube.