GSMA, Industry Leaders Addressed Over 1500 Attendees at MWC Africa 2021

At MWC Africa, GSMA Celebrated Major Milestone as it Reached Over 100 Million People Through Mobile For Development Programmes, Including 45 Million People Across 128 Projects in Africa

25 October 2021, London: 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,” said GSMA’s Ag Head Sub Saharan Africa, Angela Wamola.

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.” said GSMA’s Head of Mobile for Development, Max Cuvellier.

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.

Addressing barriers to connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa

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,” continued Angela Wamola.

At MWC Africa the impact of 5G, digital inclusion and the role of connectivity in powering a better future were central topics of discussion at the event through keynotes and panel sessions. Throughout the event, GSMA launched reports that analysed data, forecasts and trends including, State of Mobile Internet Connectivity Report 2021, the Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2021, and Roadmaps for 5G Spectrum: Sub-Saharan Africa.

Click here to watch all the sessions from Day 1 & 2, which are available to watch on-demand. Future sessions are planned, as the virtual journey MWC Africa continues with themed sessions from October 2021 until September 2022. Click here for more information.


About GSMA

The GSMA is a global organisation unifying the mobile ecosystem to discover, develop and deliver innovation foundational to positive business environments and societal change. Our vision is to unlock the full power of connectivity so that people, industry, and society thrive. Representing mobile operators and organisations across the mobile ecosystem and adjacent industries, the GSMA delivers for its members across three broad pillars: Connectivity for Good, Industry Services and Solutions, and Outreach. This activity includes advancing policy, tackling today’s biggest societal challenges, underpinning the technology and interoperability that make mobile work, and providing the world’s largest platform to convene the mobile ecosystem at the MWC and M360 series of events.

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