Managing Director of Airtel Ghana Lucy Quist, has challenged Africans to "harness technology to transform the development of the continent".
She made this statement as a keynote speaker at the just ended 23rd Wharton Africa Business Forum (WABF), an annual conference and platform for business leaders across the world to interact and share insights about their areas of expertise and to inspire the next generation of world business leaders.
The prestigious event took place from 13th -15th November at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School at the historic Loews Hotel in downtown Philadelphia attracting over 600 participants. The event was organized under the theme My Africa, My Story.
Africa on the move - one of the fastest growing continents for mobile telephony
Lucy Quist demonstrated in her presentation that unlike other aspects of its development, Africa is on the move when it comes to technology. She cited specific examples of how the telecoms industry has enabled real innovation to offer solutions to local problems enabling Africa to leap frog challenges of infrastructure and commerce through the use of technology. "We know that a large percentage of Kenyan's GDP is moved through mobile money platforms".
Across the continent, telecommunication companies are teaming up with financial institutions to ensure majority of Africans are financially included through mobile money. For instance whereas mobile penetration across Africa is about 60% and 120% in voice services in Ghana alone, banking penetration is only about 20% across board.
This creates enormous opportunities for banks and telecom companies to bridge the gap and ensure more people are empowered and included," She indicated, highlighting some of Airtel Premier and Airtel Money's partnerships in Ghana.
According to Lucy, Airtel Ghana has partnered with a number of financial institutions in the country to provide unmatched telecom, banking and lifestyle services to customers.
Her presentation on the topic 'The Growth of the Telecommunications Industry in Africa' presented the continent's telecoms evolution as she has experienced it through her professional journey. Lucy highlighted the transformative power of technology, the growth of data and digital innovation on the continent with specific reference to Kenya, Uganda and Ghana as some of the vibrant technological hubs in Africa.
Making a strong business case for the viability of Africa's telecommunications industry, Lucy Quist said "Africa is set to remain one of the fastest growing continents in terms of mobile adoption and telecommunications in Africa with significant contribution to the GDP of African economies. Africa's growing middle class, rapid GDP growth, innovation in the digital space and increased demand for data is fuelling this growth".
Lucy Quist's participation powered by Airtel Ghana's Superior Internet service
To demonstrate Airtel Ghana's superior leadership in data and digital services, Lucy's participation in the forum was powered by Airtel's Smartphone network via a live uninterrupted Hangout feed from Ghana to Wharton. She was able to connect to all 600 participants of the conference through the medium of technology - a clear demonstration of how the continent's technology has evolved.
Airtel employs use of social media to connect to followers
Followers of the Most Loved telecom brand were not left out of the interaction as Lucy's full presentation was streamed live via Airtel Ghana's account on Periscope - a live video streaming app that enables live broadcasts to millions of people across the world. Followers connected to Airtel Ghana's Periscope account to watch Lucy deliver her session and to interact with her in real time.
"This is just one of the many clear examples to demonstrate that Africa and for that matter Ghana has come of age with regards to fully utilizing technology to solve problems, to connect, engage and drive value. Airtel is at the forefront of that change being the first operator to launch 3G services in Ghana. This also validates Airtel's position and leadership in digital innovation and use of technology to connect with and empower our customers to realise their full potential" Lucy said.
Lucy Quist shared the platform with Hans Kuiper, a Partner from the Boston Consulting Group who shared his deep insights on the growth of the telecommunications industry across Africa.
Other keynote speakers for the forum included Hakeem Belo-Osagie, Chairman of Etisalat, Nigeria; Anna Bossman, Director, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Division, African Development Bank Group; Colin Coleman, Managing Partner, Goldman Sachs, Sub-Saharan Africa; and, Mosunmola Abudu, Founder, EbonyLife TV.
Lucy Quist was recently crowned the CIMG Marketing Woman of the year for her outstanding contribution to the business in Ghana, her exceptional leadership, marketing insights and strategy development. As an industry professional, Lucy has been passionately advocating for the use of technology to accelerate Africa's development. She says technology will help drive reach and scale as more Ghanaians and Africans strive to realise their potential.
She continues to passionately share insights on several platforms including recently with Executive MBA students of Lancaster University in Ghana.
Airtel is Ghana's fastest growing telecommunication network and leader in digital innovation offering unparalleled products and services to meet the communication, connectivity and collaborative needs of all customers.