2nd Europe - Middle East - North African Regional Conference of the International Telecommunications Society (ITS): "Leveraging Technologies For Growth", Aswan, Egypt, 18th-21st February, 2019
While several determinants of ICT usage has been investigated in the literature, the impact of access to electricity has been so far overlooked. In this paper, we rely on countrylevel data on the penetration rates of mobile telephony, Internet and smartphones, as well as average revenue per user (ARPU) to evaluate the impact of access to electricity on ICT usage in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using a panel of 40 countries from 2000 to 2016 and a logistic diffusion model, we find a positive and statistically significant impact of access to electricity on the penetration rate of the Internet and smartphones, but no significant effect on the diffusion of basic mobile telephony. Accounting for both the extensive and intensive margins, we find that ICT usage increases by 0.43 US dollar per connected user, meaning that mobile ARPU would have declined by 0.1 percentage point more per year without the expansion of access to electricity. These findings are robust to the measurement of access to electricity, and to the inclusion of controls for income, education, urbanization, price, competition and network investment.