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Airtel Africa Chief Emphasizes Telco’s Increasing Digital Influence


The CEO highlighted the existing shortcomings in Sub-Saharan Africa’s financial infrastructure, indicating that only 17% of the populace can access mobile financial services. At the same time, the rest remain excluded from formal financial systems. Ogunsanya observed that even among those with internet access, utilization is low for various reasons, primarily due to financial limitations. He stated that telecom companies play a crucial role in facilitating people’s transition to the digital realm, and they must close the gap between those with and without internet access.

Ogunsanya emphasized that women in rural regions of Africa are the hardest hit by the financial gap, as their lack of access to financial services leaves them vulnerable to economic exploitation and poverty.

As for the limitations in mobile money adoption, the CEO pointed out that the high cost of mobile phones is a significant barrier. To address this issue, he mentioned that Airtel has recently partnered with the Rwandan government to introduce a $20 4G smartphone, touted as the most budget-friendly device of its kind on the African continent.

Ogunsanya emphasized a $1 per month data package offering unlimited texts and calls, along with 1 GB of internet. He is of the view that this will boost mobile engagement across Africa. He highlighted that a 10% surge in mobile adoption on the continent correlates with a 2% GDP growth.

He stated, “We aim to connect Africa with the rest of the world and vice versa.”

On the topic of education, the executive said that learning isn’t limited to a classroom setting. According to him, it’s about the dissemination and acquisition of knowledge.




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