MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita has called for the modernisation and harmonisation of regulatory frameworks across Africa as well as the collective effort of all stakeholders to ensure that the continent can deliver universal broadband coverage by 2030.
“The regulatory frameworks for Africa’s telecommunications industry do not reflect our current advancement. They are still positioned for the era of voice,” he said at the Africa Prosperity Dialogue held at Peduase in the Eastern Region of Ghana over the weekend.
The event was attended by several distinguished African leaders including the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the former President of Niger and AfCFTA Champion H.E. Issofou Mohamadou.
“As the world continues to undergo major digital transformation and disruption, our regulatory frameworks need to evolve to reflect these technological advancements,” he added in his address on ‘Moving from Ambition to Action: The Role of Telecommunications in Deepening Intra-African Trade, Challenges and Opportunity’.
He spoke of the need for a robust regulatory framework which is relevant and future fit. There was also a need for all participants in the sector to contribute to building and investing in infrastructure: “A fair share contribution by both local and international players including mobile network operators and OTTs”.
Mupita said Africa would need around $100 billion in capital investment to reach its goal of universal broadband for all Africans by 2030.
The Africa Prosperity Dialogue was attended by representatives of governments and business leaders in Africa. Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo commended the organisers and the delegates for their participation.
The Africa Prosperity Dialogue is organised by the Africa Prosperity Network and is aimed at achieving deeper economic integration between African states in outlining its industrialisation priorities. Among topics under discussion were the policies that will ensure the successful implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
With the goal of serving South Africans with hearing loss, MTN is piloting a national relay service (NRS) which harnesses the power of technology to enable users to make and receive phone calls. Depending on the type of call, an operator will speak, type, or use sign language when facilitating calls for or between deaf, hard of hearing, or deafblind South Africans.
Together with Convo South Africa, a deaf-owned company, the pilot project expands communication access for those who otherwise would not be able to communicate via voice call, audio or video.
sers of MTN’s NRS service will be able to independently make calls to friends and family, business services and other organisations without having to rely on someone else to place calls for them. The NRS user will connect with a communications assistant, registered and trained by Convo, who will facilitate the call in real-time.
“Importantly, contacting critical emergency, fire and medical services is more efficient and far quicker than before for over 2.8 million South African’s living with hearing disabilities or speech impairment and 235 000 South African Sign Language users”, says Cornelia Van Heerden, MTN SA’s Chief Customer Service and Operations Officer.
Over the next four months, MTN and Convo, which has a strong track-record in advocating for and serving South Africa’s deaf community, will be testing the effectiveness of the service with 100 members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
“Our purpose as Africa’s largest telecommunications network is to extend the benefits of a modern connected life to everyone,” says Van Heerden.