Perspectives

2016 Mobile industry impact report

Sustainable development goals

First-of-its-kind report offers critical insights into transformative impact of mobile on individuals, societies and economies.

Advancing the sustainable development goals (SDGs)

The GSMA recently launched the 2016 Mobile Industry Impact Report: Sustainable Development Goals’.

Developed by Deloitte on behalf of the GSMA (an organisation that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide), this first-of-its-kind report offers critical insights into the transformative impact of the mobile industry on individuals, societies and economies around the world, in developed and developing markets.

Published in September 2016 at the UN Private Sector Forum, the report is designed to facilitate progress by creating a common, measureable system that links the industry’s activities to their impact on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); serving as an input into industry decisions on strategy, planning and investment. 

 

This work is part of a broader GSMA Initiative to create a purpose for this critical industry, which focuses on the contribution it makes to the SDGs: 'connecting everyone and everything to a better future'. 

This, in turn, is part of the broader, cross-sector movement that recognises the symbiotic relationship between sustained commercial success and contribution to social, environmental and broader economic development. 
Sam Baker, Partner                    

Mobile industry impact on the SDGs

The report finds that the mobile industry impacts all 17 Sustainable Development Goals to varying degrees, with the greatest effect being felt on SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), SDG 1 (No poverty), SDG 4 (Quality education) and SDG 13 (Climate action). Collectively connecting nearly 4.8 billion people globally, mobile operators and players across the ecosystem are already delivering a vast range of programmes and initiatives that contribute to achieving the SDGs, such as:

  • SDG 1 (No poverty) –Today, more than 400 million people have access to financial services via their phone, with mobile money services available in over 90 countries. The mobile industry is committed to continue to develop new mobile money products, such as international remittances, for developing world consumers who need it most.
  • SDG 5 (Gender equality) – The mobile industry is focused on increasing women’s access to and use of mobile services in low- and middle-income countries around the world. Since its launch in February, 18 operators representing over 90 million customers have joined the Connected Women Commitment Initiative to close the gender gap in mobile internet and mobile money services.
  • SDG 8 (Decent work and economic growth) – The mobile industry is a major contributor to the world’s economy. The mobile ecosystem added $3.1 trillion in economic value to the global economy in 2015, equivalent to 4.2 per cent of GDP, a figure predicted to rise to $3.7 trillion by 2020. The industry also directly and indirectly supported 32 million jobs in 2015 and contributed $430 billion to public funding in the form of various types of taxation.
  • SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) – The mobile industry is committed to leveraging technology and expertise to ensure that communication is possible in disasters and humanitarian crises. Endorsed by the United Nations OCHA, the GSMA's Humanitarian Connectivity Charter now has 103 mobile network operators across 76 countries, committed to ensuring network resilience and supporting subscribers during times of crisis.
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