MTN Group CEO, Ralph Mupita, has highlighted the urgent need to adapt African economies for the digital age, calling for balanced and modern telecoms regulatory frameworks across the continent. Mupita emphasized that such regulations would increase investor confidence, promote innovation, and drive industry growth.
In an interview with McKinsey’s “Winning through Turns” series for telecommunications leaders, Mupita discussed crucial factors like low rates of smartphone penetration, limited broadband access, telecom legislation, and new investments in digital infrastructure. He believes that addressing these issues collectively would enable Africa to overcome current obstacles and make significant advancements in various sectors, including education, healthcare, agriculture, logistics, and mining.
Mupita specifically called for more harmonized and up-to-date regulatory frameworks across Africa. While acknowledging the effectiveness of past regulations during the transition from voice to data (2G to 3G technology), he emphasized the need for adaptability to the future. Outdated regulations could hinder Africa’s progress while other parts of the world move forward. Mupita urged governments to create fairer business conditions for the telecoms sector, as the lack of regulatory harmonization across different countries poses challenges for multinational operators like MTN.
Highlighting the immense capital investment required for universal broadband by 2030, estimated at $100 billion, Mupita stressed the importance of modernizing regulations to attract global capital. He reiterated that the current investment levels fall short of meeting this goal. Mupita’s call aligns with the GSM Association’s request for telecom policies and regulations based on internationally accepted principles. The association emphasizes that strong telecoms infrastructure is the foundation of modern digital economies and urges policymakers to remove sector-specific regulations that hinder industry development.