Following the successful return of MWC Africa powered out of Kigali, GSMA has shared insights from the event that demonstrate how connectivity is powering the content. The event attracted 1500 attendees and 60 speakers comprising industry leaders who, together with GSMA representatives, convened online to discuss the future of the mobile ecosystem.
“MWC Africa 2021 was only possible because of the support and commitment of our partners and staff at GSMA. A special thanks to the GSMA team and our founding partners Mastercard, MTN, Orange, and ZTE, headline sponsor Safaricom, and the keynote speakers, stakeholders, and all those who joined the event.”Angela Wamola, Head, Sub Saharan Africa, GSMA
This year the GSMA celebrated a major milestone, having impacted over 100 million lives globally through its Mobile for Development (M4D) activities. In Africa alone, M4D initiatives have reached over 45 million people across 128 projects. M4D has contributed to almost all of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the greatest contribution in relation to SDG2: Hunger, SDG5: Gender Equality; SGD9: Industry Innovation and Infrastructure and SDG8: Decent Work & Economic Growth.
“For more than a decade now, Mobile for Development has remained true to its vision and stayed focused on driving innovation in digital technology to reduce inequalities in our world. Reaching this milestone gives us the opportunity to express our gratitude to the donors and partners who have made this possible, and to reassert our commitment to supporting digital solutions with a positive impact on societies, economies, and the planet.”Max Cuvellier, Head of Mobile for Development, GSMA
The mobile industry and digital eco-system are key to transforming the lives of Africans. Driving access to digital services has been crucial in keeping economies active and mitigating the socioeconomic repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the latest Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa Report, mobile technologies and services generated more than $130 billion of economic value added (8% of GDP) in Sub-Sahara Africa in 2020. Mobile money is driving productivity, with the value of transactions on mobile money platforms in the region reaching $490 billion in 2020.
Through industry-leading events like MWC Africa, the GSMA encourages sector-wide dialogue with governments and policymakers to help foster mobile adoption, usage, and digital inclusion, which in turn will help drive economic growth across African countries.
For example, by implementing fiscal policies that encourage rather than hinder much-needed investment in infrastructure and help to improve consumer access to digital services. Mobile sector taxation is a barrier to digital inclusion in Sub-Sahara Africa, where mobile services are subject to a high level of sector-specific taxes.
“Affordability of service and smartphones is one of the key barriers to connectivity, which is why we recently made the case to rethink mobile taxation in Tanzania to highlight the impact of sector-specific taxes on mobile broadband adoption. In July, the Ministry of Finance and Planning in Tanzania abolished value-added tax on smartphones. This is an important move to improve the affordability of smartphones and significantly help close the usage gap in Tanzania. We welcome further dialogue to discuss the reduction of other mobile sector taxes such as airtime tax and mobile money transaction, with the goal of getting more people connected, and online.”Angela Wamola, Head, Sub Saharan Africa, GSMA