Africa projected to be 8th largest global economy with an estimated $16.3 trillion by the year 2050 – AfCFTA Boss

The newly appointed CEO of the telecommunication giant MTN, Mr Stephen Blewett on Monday  delivered the keynote address at the ongoing 3i Africa Summit at the Accra International Conference Centre in Accra.

This marks his first major public appearance since he was appointed Managing Director of the company.

Under the Theme : Unleashing Africa’s Fintech and Digital Economic Potential, the 3 day event brought together tech and innovation experts, policymakers, regulators and top personalities across Africa.

The summit which was opened by President Nana Akufo-Addo witnessed the presence of some of his ministers and governors of the Bank of Ghana – Dr Ernest Addison and his deputy Madam Elsie Awadzi.

In his address Mr Stephen Blewett said Ghana is emerging as a key player in the fintech space and therefore it was no coincidence to hosting the Summit.

He said the country is known for its innovation, resilience and adaptability that have contributed enormously to shaping and deepening Africa’s digital economy through financial inclusion. 

For him, to unleash Africa’s economic potential, the digital and fintech journey must be guided by  innovation, investment and impact. 

He disclosed that the success of services like MTN’s Mobile Money, Vodafone, and Safaricom’s M-pesa provides sufficient evidence of the ability of fintech to revolutionise business on the continent and provide millions of people with access to essential financial services.  

Mr Stephen Blewett expressed worry that despite these gains, Africa lags far behind the world in mobile adoption and innovation, adding that constraints such as low infrastructure coverage, affordability of data and smart phones and lack of digital skills training continue to inhibit access to the internet among vulnerable groups, especially women.

“We must therefore make every effort to remove these bottlenecks and close the usage gap by improving data coverage and lowering the cost of data and data-enabled devices especially in rural and low-income areas and enhance digital literacy”, said Mr Blewett.  

He explained that to achieve this objective it is imperative for leaders, innovators, businesses, financiers and investors to come together to facilitate the implementation of the solutions needed to accelerate this transformation and create a sustainable and inclusive digital economy for Africa.

According to him, Africa’s digital and fintech sectors have grown tremendously over the past few years, adding that we stand on the threshold of a digital revolution that has the potential to transform lives, economies and the way we do business, from mobile money to e-commerce, and that Africa is experiencing an era of unprecedented technological advancement.