3i Africa Summit: telcos urged to reduce data cost for wider coverage

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In an effort to increase digital literacy, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN Ghana, Stephen Blewett, has urged telcos and smart device dealers in Africa to work towards reducing the cost of data and data enabled devices to improve increase data coverage, particularly in rural and low-income areas.

He believes that although all industry statistics indicate that Africa’s fintech industry is growing fast, inadequate infrastructure, high data and smartphone costs a low digital skills training continue to prevent vulnerable groups – women in particular – from accessing the internet, which keeps adoption and innovation in Africa behind the rest of the globe.

According to Stephen Blewett, Africa’s fintech and digital industries have expanded rapidly in recent years, and the continent is poised for a digital revolution that could drastically alter people’s lives, economies, and corporate practices.

“Africa has the most accounts, services, and transactions when it comes to mobile banking globally. Millions of unbanked individuals can now receive financial services in places where traditional banking services are not available thanks to fintech. More than 760 million accounts on the continent produce more than $830 billion in transactions annually,” he stated.

He strongly believes Africa has the potential to lead the world in mobile adoption and innovation if the cost of data and data-enabled devices is brought down.
“This will also boost digital literacy and expand data coverage,” he added.
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