Craig Friderichs, director of Health, at GSMA Mobile for Development talks about how operators are working to encourage growth in Africa through mobile applications.
CommsMEA: How is the GSMA boosting sectors through mobile phones or applications in Africa?
We are involved in promoting a number of sectors across the continent through our Mobile for Development initiative.
Some of the initiatives we are currently running include the Mobile Money for the Unbanked programme were we help mobile operators and the financial industry collaborate to deliver affordable financial services to millions of previously unbanked customers.
We have a Green Power for Mobile programme We are also working with operators across Africa to provide mobile enhancing services to the Health sector, for water and energy access, and services tailored to enable increased mobile access for women.
CommsMEA: Which countries in Africa are leading the way when using apps and mobile phones to boost sectors?
Mobile operators are laying the foundation enablers for the digital economy via mobile connectivity, mobile identity, and mobile money. On top of these foundation enablers, mobile innovators and citizen entrepreneurs are building digital content and services to solve business and consumer needs. Over the past few years a number of innovation hubs, incubators and accelerators have sprung up all over Africa from Cape Town to Cairo and Lagos to Nairobi. While still nascent, the rapidly rising digital entrepreneurship scene in Africa has real promise to grow successful businesses.
CommsMEA: How is GSMA working with operators in order to promote growth in Africa?
We bring together our mobile operator members, the wider mobile industry and the development community to drive commercial mobile services for underserved people in emerging markets. We identify opportunities for social, economic and environmental impact and stimulate the development of scalable, life-enhancing mobile services.
Mobile network operators are engaging with other institutions to identify and implement solutions that will allow more mobile services to be delivered to more people.
CommsMEA: Which operators have worked with GSMA recently on these initiatives?
Earlier this year we had about nine mobile network operators, including Bharti Airtel, Etisalat Group, Millicom, MTN Group, Ooredoo Group, Orange, STC Group, Vodafone Group and Zain Group, committing to work together on accelerating and implementation of interoperable mobile money services across the MEA region. These operators account for 582 million mobile connections across 48 countries in MEA. We are pleased that operators are taking steps in providing convenient mobile services to the public.