MTN CEO wants African govts to harmonise tech regulations

MTN CEO wants African govts to harmonise tech regulations

MTN group president and CEO Ralph Mupita has called on governments across Africa to harmonise tech regulations, which he says is necessary to increase the capital investment in digital infrastructure needed to accelerate economic development.

Speaking at the opening of the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda on Thursday, Mupita said that it’s difficult for multinational companies like MTN to navigate the widely differing regulatory regimes across the African continent. MTN Group currently has mobile operations in 17 countries in Africa. 

“How do we create regulatory systems that are common across Africa?” he asked delegates.

Mupita said that if African countries really want to realize their own digital transformation ambitions and the expected economic benefits that come with them, “I would argue that the thing we do need to think about is harmonising regulatory developments, particularly in the technology space.”

Mupita added that harmonisation would help investors better anticipate their own returns, which in turn would encourage investment.

This isn’t the first time Mupita has called for pan-African regulatory harmonisation. According to ITWeb Africa, Mupita raised the topic at the Africa Prosperity Dialogue event in Ghana in January 2023, where he also complained that Africa’s regulatory frameworks were still stuck in the voice era, and were consequently falling behind by advances in telecoms and digital technologies.

According to GSMA Intelligence, there were close to 520 million unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa at the end of 2023. Of that, 57% (296 million) subscribed to mobile internet services.

According to the ITU's "Facts and Figures 2023" report, only 37% of the total African population of 1.2 billion had internet access in 2023 – which is actually down slightly from 40% in 2022.

 

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