Forging Forward As One Africa
By Akinwale Goodluck, GSMA Head of Sub-Saharan Africa
Now more than ever, the need for African countries to come together and unite is at an all-time high. The mobile ecosystem is changing as more subscribers gain access therefore bringing with it the need to establish better economic and political ties that will see our continent develop and make greater strides in this area.
Harmonization of regulation, policies and best practice in the mobile industry is key if we are to meet the goal of affordable internet that is accessible to all. Initiatives undertaken by regional groupings such as COMESA, SADC, ECOWAS and EAC among others need to be coordinated in a way that moves all of us in the same direction, tackling the same challenges and therefore achieving the goal.
There is need for universal access to mobile which means that infrastructure development is key for all markets. It is also essential to focus on stimulating demand for mobile services in addition to mobilizing efforts to encourage deployment of network infrastructure to support access for all.
Spectrum policies also need to be well formulated and implemented in a way that allows the countries within the region to enjoy the socio- economic benefits that come with best practise spectrum administration.
Infrastructure sharing goes a long way in reducing costs for Mobile Network Operators and governments as well as ensuring the non-degradation of the environment and would therefore be a positive development in the mobile industry for all players and a benefit to the consumers.
Passive and active infrastructure sharing is often ambitious but can be achieved if the right strategies are followed. A united Africa will not only push the agenda of the continent in global affairs but will also be an avenue for making the lives of its people better by meeting their needs. All in all, political willpower is essential for this to happen as the road to integration is strewn with many impediments which if not resolved will undermine any tangible progress that is made.
This discussion and more continues at Mobile 360 – Africa in Kigali on 16-18 July 2019.