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Telkom South Africa bets on AI to boost telecom efficiency

By , Africa editor
South Africa , 30 Aug 2023
Telkom Group CEO Serame Taukobong.
Telkom Group CEO Serame Taukobong.

Serame Taukobong, CEO of Telkom Group, believes that telecoms companies should be at the forefront of adopting artificial intelligence technologies to increase efficiencies.

Taukobong spoke to ITWeb Africa this week on the sidelines of the annual Southern Africa Telecommunication Networks and Applications Conference (SATNAC) in Drakensberg, South Africa.

Telkom marked SATNAC's 25th anniversary with a series of plenary discussions and presentations focused on the theme The Augmented Era: Navigating Artificial Intelligence in a Connected Society.

In line with the conference's theme, Taukobong told ITWeb Africa that embracing AI is unavoidable for the telecoms sector, as it will help to improve the quality of customer service.

“We are probably the biggest benefactors of AI, as we need to serve consumers,” he said.

In preparing Telkom for the future, Taukobong said that its primary role would be as an infrastructure company.

“With all these wonderful things, without connection they mean nothing. We see Telkom, primarily, as an Infraco, providing fast, reliable data, as widely as possible to our society.”

He added that it was therefore important that the company continued investments in training the ‘right skills set for Telkom of tomorrow’.

“If you look at Telkom, traditionally, it’s older. In the transition earlier this, we made it clear that we are bringing in a younger profile of employees and also empowering them with expensive training and knowledge of AI.”

Taukobong's assessment of AI comes at a time when Africa is adopting AI in ways that are unique to the region. 

AI development is taking place throughout Africa, with agricultural, health, fintech, and education sectors seeing the most activity in the development of AI-enabled solutions.

According to the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law at Strathmore University in Kenya, there are over 2,400 AI businesses operating across Africa. 

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