Ralph Mupita, The President and CEO of MTN Group, Africa’s telecommunications giant, has called for modernization and harmonization of regulatory frameworks to ensure Africa can deliver universal broadband coverage by 2030.
He made these remarks at the maiden edition of the Africa Prosperity Dialogues held at the Peduase Lodge in the Eastern Region of Ghana.
The event was attended by several distinguished African leaders including the President of the Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the former President of Niger and AfCFTA Champion H.E. Issofou Mohamadou.
Speaking on the theme, “Moving from Ambition to Action: The Role of Telecommunications in Deepening Intra-African Trade, Challenges and Opportunity,” Ralph Mupita said, “The regulatory frameworks for Africa’s telecommunications industry do not reflect our current advancement. They are still positioned for the era of voice. As the world continues to undergo major digital transformation and disruption, our regulatory frameworks need to evolve to reflect these technological advancements”.
Mr. Mupita underscored the need for intense investment by all stakeholders to achieve universal broadband coverage on the African continent. He said, “Achieving universal broadband coverage on the continent and building digital solutions for Africa’s progress requires a lot of investment not only in terms of digital infrastructure across regions but modernization of our policies and frameworks as well as the collective effort of all stakeholders”.
He further said, “As telecommunications globally sees rapid technological advancements, the continent needs to work towards having a robust regulatory framework which is relevant for the times and is future fit. In line with this, there is also a need for fair share contribution from all ecosystem participants especially the private sector in terms of building and investing in infrastructure. He said this requires a fair share contribution by both local and international players including mobile network operators and OTTs”.
The President and CEO of MTN Group also indicated that given the challenges Africa continues to face – the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, effects of the Ukraine war, rising cost of food and fuel prices, inflation amongst others – Africa would need $100 billion capital investment to be able to remain eligible to provide universal broadband for all Africans.
According to report by the World Bank: The Broadband for all Working Group, across Africa, where less than a third of the population has access to broadband connectivity, achieving universal affordable and good quality internet access by 2023 will require an investment of about $100 billion.
The Africa Prosperity Dialogues is organized by the Africa Prosperity Network and is aimed at achieving deeper economic integration between African states in outlining its industrialisation priorities. The Summit amongst other things discussed policies that will ensure the successful implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The event brought together many Government and business leaders including the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta and the CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) Mr Yofi Grant. MTN Group Senior Vice President for Emerging Markets Ebenezer Twum Asante, MTN Group Chief Sustainability & Corporate Affairs Officer Nompilo Morafo and the CEO of MTN Ghana Selorm Adadevoh were also in attendance.