[afp] Investment in Africa's telecom industry remains unabated despite the economic slowdown, with international providers set to increase their presence, a report said Wednesday.
A study carried out by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, African Development Bank and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said mobile phone coverage and internet use are expected to grow this year.
"The current crisis will probably have less impact on FDI (foreign direct investment) for telecommunications because of Africa's large potential market and the relatively low impact of the crisis on the consumers," said the report, entitled "African Economic Outlook".
Mobile phone subscriptions rose by 41 percent in 2008, far outstripping the number of fixed line users in the continent.
"While small operators struggle to finance network expansion, large cash-flush operators such as MTN, Orascom Telecom, Zain, Orange and Vodafone will be able to move in to the African market," it added.
Those companies, along with Moov and Tigo, accounted for 52 percent of total subscriptions in Africa, the study said.
Although African economies are still expected to expand in 2009, analysts fear the growth rate will be slower than the increase in population.
Africa telecom investments boom despite downturn: study