MTN warns of inequality risks in Africa digitalisation - Mobile World Live

MTN warns of inequality risks in Africa digitalisation

29 SEP 2020

GSMA THRIVE AFRICA 2020: MTN Group CEO Ralph Mupita (pictured) emphasised the importance of a thoughtful approach towards Industry 4.0 as a way to prevent widening of digital access inequality, and called for a social compact between businesses, governments and broader society.

During a keynote, the recently-appointed executive explained there was a need for the industry to think of ways to ensure nobody gets left behind, particularly people in rural settings, as technologies and digital services accelerate.

“If we don’t approach this fourth industrial revolution and this digital society thoughtfully, it can actually widen inequality. And I think we’ve seen it during this period of Covid-19,” Mupita said.

He pointed to difference in the ability to access education as an example, where “children from well-to-do families are able to do online classes” by using various platforms to continue to learn, while many students who didn’t have access to technology were unable to go to school for the last six months.

“That is just a window of seeing that, if technology and connectivity is only for a few, we can actually widen inequality very quickly”, Mupita noted.

MTN’s head pointed to the health sphere as another example where e-health and e-medicine services during the spread of the outbreak were “easily accessible to those who have, and those who don’t have are actually shut off”.

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Yanitsa Boyadzhieva

Yanitsa joins Mobile World Live as a Reporter based in London. She has more than 5 years’ experience at various media outlets in her home country Bulgaria. She started her career as a political reporter, followed by taking editor roles...

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