Econet Wireless Group Founder, Strive Masiyiwa said the African continent needs to learn from developed economies to use digital technologies to drive the continent’s economic growth.
This was said at the Transform Africa Economic Forum, a side event of the Transform Africa Summit 2018. The forum came out of a proposal made last year by Rwandan President, Paul Kagame and Strive Masiyiwa.
By Pearson Mbendera
“There is need to learn from developed economies in Asia, Europe and America, of which digital technologies have played a role in driving economic growth,” said Masiyiwa.
Speaking at the summit, Masiyiwa said that promoting integration in its various aspects across the continent would drive prosperity in the continent.
“We want free trade in Africa. But who trades? Business people. It’s time for our people to start trading freely across the continent as Citizens of the continent. This is why we need free movement of goods, people, services and capital,” he said.
He also said that for E-commerce to thrive in Africa, there has to be mobile money interoperability.
The topic of mobile money interoperability has been gaining mileage in Africa, with Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana among some African countries advocating and implementing mobile money interoperability.
Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, the company that Strive founded has been accused of creating a monopoly in the mobile money sector in Zimbabwe, strengthening further their position as the national leader after recently opening up their EcoCash platform to NetOne and Telecel subscribers under the guise of interoperability, a concept which only exist not only on one platform working on many networks, but on many platforms having the ability to send and receive money across platforms freely.
Masiyiwa also spoke of the continent’s need to create jobs for the youths.“We need to create jobs for young people to turn potential revolutions into opportunities that drive ICT powered growth.”
In proposing the formulation of the forum, the intention behind was to create a conversation between government and private sector leaders on leveraging the power of technology to drive the continent’s development agenda.
President Paul Kagame has been notorious for advancing technological development in Rwanda, with the African country boasting of a lot of technological advancement, drawing comparisons with the fictional African country of Wakanda in the Black Panther movie.
With Paul Kagame now heading the African Union (AU), it has been predicted that he will drive a lot of technological development in the continent. Kagame is on record accusing the continent of undermining it’s technological capability.
This forum, uniting business leaders and government leaders together to foster economic development through ICT gives a glimpse of the direction Kagame would like to take to advance the African development agenda as far as ICT is concerned.