Partnerships in the mobile technology sector are essential for Africa to achieve its development goals according to industry players that spoke to ITWeb Africa on the sidelines of the African Mobile 360 conference held in Dar es Salaam last week.
Yasmina McCarty, Head of Mobile for Development at GSMA, believes increased cooperation can help to achieve wider and more affordable access to mobile services across Africa.
“In Africa we see financial exclusion, we see people who don’t have access to drinking water, energy or even sanitation. What we believe is that mobile technology plays an instrumental role in being a solution to the latent demand, if we can innovate and scale fast enough. We are really cheering on the continued growth of mobile connectivity because of what it can provide in terms of innovation, infrastructure and life enhancing services. We do see some challenges in that growth, in particular with the dynamic between the private sector and government. We would like to see partnerships for long term digital inclusion agenda from our politicians and other industry players.”
McCarty believes that rural connectivity must be a mutual consideration for local government and mobile operators in order for Africans to realise its potential to impact their lives.
Dr Omobola Johnson, Honorary Chair of A4AI, echoed the call for partnerships. “We must collaborate. We must set out to work together as the private and public sector, NGOs and operators to end the exclusion of women and the poor. “
The GSMA’s McCarty also cited the partnership between the government of Cote d’Ivoire and mobile operators for the facilitation of the payment of school fees through mobile money as an example of partnerships in mobile technology that have managed to solve some of Africa’s most pressing challenges. More reporting