Ghana's Akufo-Addo pushes for Africa-wide mobile interoperability at AU summit

By : Isaac K. Kassouwi

Date : mercredi, 21 février 2024 09:59

Africa's digital landscape is undergoing a rapid transformation, fueled by a surge in mobile phone adoption. By 2022, the Sub-Saharan region was boasting 489 million unique mobile subscribers, translating to a 43% penetration rate.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo urged African Union (AU) members to adopt a continent-wide mobile interoperability system, arguing it would boost trade and financial inclusion amid rapid digital transformation.

Speaking at the 37th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in Addis Ababa, Akufo-Addo said such a system would accelerate the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by facilitating seamless cross-border transactions and potentially eliminating roaming charges.

If implemented, the initiative “can truly and meaningfully fast-track the inclusive realization of the AfCFTA,” he stated.

His push echoes sub-regional efforts toward similar goals. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is pursuing a single network area (ONA) for a unified digital market, while the East African Community (EAC) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are implementing comparable projects.

ECOWAS members Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire already abolished roaming charges within their borders in July 2023, following regulation C/REG.21/12/17. Benin, Togo, Mali, and Burkina Faso are also working towards compliance.

Once implemented, the interoperability of cell phone networks in Africa should facilitate communications between the continent's countries, notably by reducing costs. It is also expected to drive economic integration and empower marginalized communities within the growing digital landscape.

Isaac K. Kassouwi


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