SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

SDG8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Why it matters

SDG 8 concentrates on promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. The global economy is facing multiple challenges that can have a significant impact on growth. The persistent effects of Covid-19, cost-of-living crises, trade tensions, uncertain monetary policies, increasing debts in LMICs and the ongoing war in Ukraine all pose serious threats. These crises not only jeopardise employment and income but also hinder progress in achieving equitable pay for women and decent work opportunities for young people.

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.[34] In 2022, mobile technologies and services generated 5% of global GDP, a contribution that amounted to $5.2 trillion of economic value added.[35] In particular, 5G will add almost $1 trillion to the global economy in 2030, with benefits spread across all industries.[36]

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.[37] 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.[38]

SDG 8 mobile impact score

No Data Found

Source: GSMA Intelligence

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.

Connectivity has become the foundation of various industries and social activities, but the energy consumption of ICT is increasing exponentially worldwide. KDDI completed the shutdown of 3G in March 2022 and decided to aim for achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. To this end, KDDI established a subsidiary for renewable energy business in April 2023 and is transitioning to renewable energy while implementing energy-efficient measures such as automatic control of base stations. KDDI's DX business sector is working to solve social issues, such as inspecting aging social infrastructure with our Smart Drone. KDDI is also aiming to eliminate coverage gaps in Japan through Starlink. Furthermore, KDDI has launched "αU" (alfa U), a metaverse-centric service that utilises new Web 3 technologies. This service is expected to enhance the customer experience and contribute to the creation of a prosperous future society."
Makoto Takahashi, CEO, KDDI
Workers in a tea plantation

Case Studies

END USER STORY | Mobile money


Patience has found mobile money and mobile internet to be life-changing when it comes to her hair weave business. She is able to order materials online and pay using mobile money which, as well as being convenient, has also enabled her to save up the money she no longer needs to spend on bus fares. Patience advertises her hair weaves on Facebook and her customers pay her through mobile money.
I advertise my product through social media channels like WhatsApp and Facebook. I use mobile money to do every transaction that I do. So mobile money is really helping my business and it's making my life and that of my family so simple. My dream for the future is to expand my business. I think with the help of mobile money I will be able to get there."
Patience, Ghana
END USER STORY | Mobile internet


Mobile internet has had a hugely positive impact on Fridah’s life as a farmer by connecting her to the rest of the world. During the rainy season, Fridah uses a weather app to tell her when she should leave her maize and sorghum out to dry. She also finds great value in supportive online groups like vet services and pesticide providers.
Here in the rural areas, without internet, you’re cut off from the modern world. Access to internet has really helped me as a farmer. If you leave your maize out in the open to dry, you simply refer to a weather app that gives you the precise time of rainfall.”
Fridah, Kenya
END USER STORY | Mobile internet


Mobile internet has made a huge difference to Florence’s life as a farmer. By posting photos to the internet, Florence was able to find help in diagnosing an infestation problem with her crops and was able to order the necessary pesticides. She uses WhatsApp to promote and take orders for her sukuma wiki crop and uses mobile internet to learn about weather patterns.
Life was difficult without the internet, especially when you needed something from a person who was far away. My farm was infested by army worms and they attacked our sorghum and maize. We took pictures and posted them on the internet and we were able to receive pesticides. Internet helped me during the COVID year. One of my children was a student. They received their tests via mobile and were able to participate."
Florence, Kenya
END USER STORY | Mobile internet


Aletcenter first taught herself about bicycles through Google. Having access to this information led to her turning her hobby into a business. Now, by using Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, Aletcenter is able to list and sell her bicycles to customers, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. And thanks to mobile money, she has been able to take payments online.
COVID-19 has been a great challenge to us because many of us were not able to open our shops. But as for us, we had old stock which we would sell online. We normally post them on Facebook. As for the payments, they have been good because we have been using mobile transactions, mostly M-PESA, which is an awesome way of transacting.”
Aletcenter, Kenya
END USER STORY | Mobile internet and mobile money


Valentine creates and sells dolls, wooden statues and raffia bags with raw materials she has bought using mobile money. Despite losing some orders during the Covid-19 lockdowns, she continued to promote her products using the mobile internet and collected payments through mobile money.
The way this lockdown was done gave us a lot of problems, especially for our sales. I started losing lots of customers, but one thing that really saved me was mobile money. They used to order things online, they would then send me money and it would really help me while I was struggling.”
Valentine, DRC
END USER STORY | Mobile internet


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.

I can reach out to different manufacturers online and place my orders. So I believe mobile internet can play a very important role in realising my dreams and wishes."
Tonema, Bangladesh
END USER STORY | Mobile internet

GSMA Innovation Fund for Mobile Internet Adoption and Digital Inclusion

In this video we hear from some of the end users who are benefitting from these start-ups’ incredible projects, whether through increased access to smartphones, relevant products and digital skills, access to quality digital learning products, or help with bringing their small businesses online.
If Ensibuuko hadn't digitised our group, we would lose our savings just like that and if we were not given a smartphone, we wouldn't have access to Ensibuuko's digital loans. Digitalisation opened up my mind to new business ideas. It has exposed me to different apps that I enjoy and I also have access to marketplaces."
Monica Ojogaru
Case Study

MTN launches digital skills academy to boost youth employment


Among Sub-Saharan Africa's population of 200 million young people, around 38 million are currently not engaged in any form of education, employment or training. This figure is on the rise, with young women being disproportionately affected, as reported by the International Labour Organization. The Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development emphasises that by 2025, at least 60% of both youth and adults must possess a minimum level of proficiency in sustainable digital skills. This level of proficiency is crucial to enable them to fully access and benefit from the wide array of online services and resources available.


In 2022, MTN launched the MTN Skills Academy in collaboration with public and private sector partners to address digital challenges faced by young people. The programme integrates existing ICT programmes to better serve the communities in which MTN operates. It offers career guidance counselling, free online training in digital and financial skills, work readiness support for improved employment prospects, and access to job opportunities in the public and private sectors throughout Africa. The academy promotes inclusivity with low-data usage, zero-rating in select markets, country-specific and multilingual functionality and features catering to people with disabilities.


Over 2,000 people joined the MTN Skills Academy in the first month it launched in Zambia, with the number expected to increase during 2023. MTN aims to reach 1 million people through the initiative by 2025, which includes:

• 500,000 career guidance surveys

• 340,000 digital & financial skills courses

• 150,000 job readiness and mentorship courses

• 14,000 job placement opportunities

• 510 rural outreach hubs.