Ralph Mupita, the President and CEO of MTN Group – Africa’s telecommunications giant, has called for modernisation and harmonisation of regulatory frameworks to ensure Africa can deliver universal broadband coverage by 2030.
He made these remarks at the Africa Prosperity Dialogues’ maiden edition held at Aburi in the Eastern Region.
The event was attended by several distinguished African leaders, including President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as well as former president of Niger and AfCFTA champion 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 also modernisation 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 toward having a robust regulatory framework that is relevant for the times and is future-fit. In line with this, there is also a need for fair-share contributions 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 – aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic, effects of the Ukraine war, rising cost of food and fuel prices, inflation among others – the continent will need US$100billion in capital investment in order 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 US$100billion.
The Africa Prosperity Dialogues is organised by the Africa Prosperity Network and aimed at achieving deeper economic integration between African states while outlining its industrialisation priorities. The Summit, among other things, discussed policies that will ensure a 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; CEO of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (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, was also in attendance.