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Telco exec urges Africa to end “tyranny of sovereignty” to allow trade

By , Africa editor
Africa , 30 Jan 2024
Ebenezer Asante, senior vice president: markets, MTN Group.
Ebenezer Asante, senior vice president: markets, MTN Group.

A prominent telecoms executive has called for Africa’s governments to enable technology to be used to improve cross-border trade and ease of doing business in West Africa.

Speaking at the recent Africa Prosperity Dialogues event, held in Accra, Ghana, Ebenezer Asante, senior vice president: markets, MTN Group, urged industry players and government officials to support cross-border trade by putting a stop to what he called the "tyranny of sovereignty".

Asante praised Ghana's move to provide visa-free travel for Africans, but lamented the difficulties Africans experience when conducting cross-border payments and transactions.

He said: “The tyranny of sovereignty must end to allow proper trade and ease of doing business across West Africa. Technology continues to transform the way we trade, and we must leverage the immense opportunities it presents to trade within our borders.”

Asante added closed borders are an impediment to progress because they prevent the fostering seamless trade.

“African countries must open their borders to each other to allow intercontinental trade,” he said.

Nompilo Morafo, MTN Group’s chief sustainability and corporate affairs officer, and Selorm Adadevoh, CEO, MTN Ghana, participated in the Africa Prosperity Dialogues panel discussion: "Critical Enablers for Single Market Success – Leveraging Infrastructure, Innovation, and Technology".

Adadevoh said: “It is not enough to invest in the infrastructure without investing in the skills needed. Africa has the largest youth population in the world. We must harness the power of the youth by transforming our current educational system towards a more digital framework.”

Morafo underscored the significance of corporate entities engaging in discussions with lawmakers to propel Africa's development.

She said: “What we hope for is that at the end of these dialogues, we will see policies and frameworks enacted to bring to life the wonderful ideas we discuss at these sessions.”

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