Telecom giant, MTN Ghana has expressed commitment to investing heavily in making Ghana a Technology Centre for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Selorm Adadevoh, the AfCFTA will be largely driven by technology, hence there is the need to put the right technological infrastructure in place to succeed.
In 2018 some African countries signed a free trade area agreement to establish the AfCFTA. It came into force in 2019 and trade commenced in January 2021. As of today, 54 out of 55 African countries have signed the agreement. The Secretariat which is hosted in Accra, Ghana was commissioned and handed over to the African Union by the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo in August 2020.
The number of participating countries with over a billion population and a total GDP of over 3 trillion dollars, makes this new free-trade area the largest in the world since the formation of the World Trade Organization. AfCFTA is expected to boost Intra Africa trade by over 50 per cent by 2022, increase the revenues of member states and create jobs for many African countries that have huge unemployment rates.
Trade experts say technology is one key infrastructure that can unlock the full potential of this novel African market.
Speaking at the 2021 Editors Forum for selected journalists in Southern Ghana as part of MTN’s 25th anniversary, the MTN CEO said the company is evolving to actively participate in this new African market by providing innovative digital solutions to support businesses to thrive in the new digital economy envisaged under AfCFTA.
Mr Adadevoh said “We see an open of borders, trade, services across borders… One of the things that will make the countries do well is technology. Ghana’s desire to become a digital economy is great but we won’t get there without infrastructure.” He then assured that MTN will make Ghana the technology centre for AfTCFA.
As a measure to reach this ambition, the CEO announced an injection of $200 million into its network infrastructure this year to meet the data demands of the country. The amount would be the telco’s biggest capital investment in a single year, within the last 10 to 15 years.
The investment is also a result of the upward surge in data and mobile money subscriptions since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He further revealed that plans are far advanced to expand the 4G network across the country, while they work on piloting a 5G network by 2023 to sustain demand and growth, drive digitization and keep ahead of the competition.
The Editors Forum, brought together over 30 journalists in Accra, with several others joining virtually from the Eastern, Volta and Oti Regions.
Fred Duodu, Ho (email@example.com)