Collaborations between telcos key to achieving Africa’s digital transformation agenda

Telecom providers in Africa have been urged to work conjointly to ensure the continent achieves its digital transformation agenda.

Speaking during her keynote speech at the recently concluded NOVACOM Digital Transformation Strategy Summit in Cape Town South Africa, former West Africa Google Director Juliet Ehimuan noted that possibilities lie ahead for digital innovation in Africa.

‘’Telcos, ISPs and providers need to join forces to ensure the continent does not lag behind’’ she said.

Telcos have an important role to play in driving the transformation agenda in the continent. Their infrastructure services need to be revamped if the continent is to effectively deliver on this transformation.

Dr Willie Oosthuysen, Chief Strategy Officer at Liquid Intelligent Technologies who was also present at the summit told TechTrends Media that telcos in Africa first need to have conversations on digital connectivity.

‘’Before we even talk about digital transformation, we first need to talk and digital connectivity so that people have access to content and communication services’’ he said.

‘’One of the biggest challenges we have in Africa still is that 60% to 70$ of people do not have access to broadband services. When public and private sectors join hands and put capital together, there’s always a good outcome.’’’ he added. 

Insights on mobile internet connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa from GSMA reveal that since 2014, the progress in connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa has been substantial. By the end of 2021, 22% of the total population in Sub-Saharan Africa was using mobile internet (and 40% of adults over 18 years of age). Despite being the region with the largest gaps in mobile internet coverage and usage, it’s clear to see the progress that has been made over the years in addressing supply-side and demand-side barriers in the region.

As a result of continuing mobile broadband investments in the region, GSMA notes that 83% of the population was covered by a mobile broadband network by the end of 2021. ‘’However, globally, there are 400 million people still not covered by a mobile broadband network (5% of the world’s population), with half of them living in Sub-Saharan Africa’’ 

Digital technology can drive innovation, economic growth and job creation in many key sectors of the economy, and allows for greater interconnection of African markets with one another and with the rest of the world

Mobile connectivity indeed has the potential to accelerate Sub-Saharan Africa’s digital transformation and drive socioeconomic advancement, but realising this potential requires policy measures to support network investments and improve the affordability of digital services for consumers.

During the summit, thought-provoking discussions centred around infrastructure, policy, investments, digital skills,  and access to the Internet. This was also the first time the summit was being held in South Africa.

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