Wrap up of Mobile 360 – West Africa 2019

This week Mobile 360 – West Africa returned to Abidjan for its third year, under the theme Rise of the Digital Citizen.

We discussed the wealth of connected tools and channels at our fingertips in this forth industrial revolution; IoT, AI, M2M, 5G, Big Data, all to ultimately answer the question ‘How do we build a connected Africa that leaves no one behind?’

The audience explored the rising start-up community and how to attract more investment; we looked at digital literacy skills and the politically charged topic of job creation. Moreover, on a continent where in 11 countries women hold close to one-third of parliamentary seats, we debated how this degree of success in empowerment can be replicated and even surpassed across the STEM sectors.

In Abidjan this week, we did not just talk about change, we witnessed it.

We covered five incredibly topical sessions with the best speakers for the job:

An Age of Opportunity or a Game of Thrones?

The stage is set; it is the time to ask if mobile infrastructure and digital policies are fit for purpose? Where is the balance between enforcing regulation to prevent monopolies and keeping the interest of operators and Towercos? As advancements in connectivity are made, are the incentives to connecting the unconnected apparent?

Speakers in this session included:
• Jean-Francois Le Bihan, Public Policy Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA
• John Giusti, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA
• HE Claude Isaac De, Minister of Digital Economy and Post, Ministry of Digital Economy and Post, Cote d’Ivoire
• Etienne Ardon, General Manager Mobile Financial Services, MTN Cote d’Ivoire
• Habib Bamba, Director of Transformation, Digital and Media, Orange Cote d’Ivoire

Why we need to imagine different Connected Futures

93% of Africans today have access to a mobile phone service, but less than two thirds have access to piped water. We have digital solutions to change these statistics, this is where policy meets grass root action to solve some of the most difficult challenges facing our region.

Speakers in this session included:
• Olatokunbo Fagbamigbe, CEO, Cotta & Cush Limited
• Fabrice Koffi, Founder, KEIWA
• Catherine Assanvo, Strategy & Development Deputy Director, Orange Cote d’Ivoire
• Dr Precious Lunga, CEO & Co-Founder, Baobab Circle
• Teju Ajani, Head of Android Partnerships, Nigeria, Google
• Genesis Ehimegbe, Co-Founder and CFO, COLIBA

What we can do to stop Technology losing Societies Trust

Trust takes a lifetime to build and just one meme to destroy. We, the mobile ecosystem, need to discuss accountability, privacy and solutions. There are many ways to describe the dynamics between technology and society, but it is unanimously agreed that the relationship is under scrutiny; from combating fake news with fact checking, social media and elections, digital authentication integrations and blockchain for public services.

Speakers in this session included:
• Gertrude Kone Kouassi, Executive Director, UNETEL
• Vèna Arielle Ahouansou, CEO, KEA Medicals
• Larry Madowo, BBC Africa
• Alain Nteff, CEO, GiftedMom
• Chukwuyere Ebere Izuogu, Tech Policy Fellow, Mozilla Foundation
• Samba Sow, CEO & Founder, SudPay

How Young People are changing the Face of Africa

Africa is a juxtaposition, the oldest continent and yet home to the youngest population on the planet. 60% of the entire continent’s population is below 25 years old; their roots sunk deep in a wealth of culture and tradition, and their wings spread strong for exploration and innovation. These are the leaders of tomorrow. But today it is our job to prepare them, teach them and tool them.

Speakers in this session included:
• Akinwale Goodluck, Head of Africa, GSMA
• Jean-Michel Bagui, Founder, Chez Nous
• Delmas Ehui, CEO, ICT4DEV
• Onyeka Akumah, CEO & Founder, Farmcrowdy
• Val Labi, Country WASH Director, iDE
• Lise Birikundavyi, Deputy Country Director and Impact Finance Investment Manager, TRECC
• Agnès Aka-Devarenne, Senior Manager Mobile Financial Services Products, Orange Cote d’Ivoire
• Fanny Dauchez, Academy Manager, SeedStars
• Carole Attoungbre, Country Director, Eneza

Made in Africa

Today there are more millennials and Gen Z in Africa than the entire population of North America. This powerful group is rewriting their own narrative, telling African stories in African languages and creating African solutions for African People.

In this brand new addition to the Mobile 360 West Africa agenda, we turn the spotlight on to the local solutions and initiatives that are changing the face of digital Africa. We looked at the very best of the innovation spirit in Africa.

Because the future is Made in Africa.

Speakers in this session included:
• Gerry Rasugu, Mobile for Development Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA
• Vince Kadar, CEO, Telepin Software
• Fargani Tambeayuk, Africa Public Policy Manager, Connectivity, Facebook
• Lare Atcha-Oubou, Regional Director, Intelsat
• Faycal Sawadogo, FERDI
• Nils Kaiser, Consultant
• Etienne Kouadio Doh, GM, Francophone Region, MainOne

The Rise of the Digital Citizen theme will continue on next to Mobile 360 – Africa in 16 – 18 July in Kigali. Register to attend today at https://www.mobile360series.com/africa/

A massive thank you to all the attendees, speakers, sponsors and partners that made this event a wonderful success.

Diversity and Inclusion: a key ingredient for success

Guest post from Jo Bertram, Chief Digital & Strategy Officer, O2 (Telefónica UK)

I recently had the opportunity to join a discussion on bringing more women into leadership roles at Mobile World Congress’s 4 Years from Now innovation and start up event for GSMA’s Female “Founders” fireside chat. Read More

MWC19 Los Angeles Key Themes

Following the successful transition to Los Angeles in 2018, this year’s MWC19 Los Angeles promises to be bigger and better than ever before. As with MWC19 in Barcelona, Spain, the overarching theme for the show will be “Intelligent Connectivity”. Intelligent connectivity enables not only improved cellular services for mobile phone users, but capabilities to revolutionize countless industries. By developing and rolling out new technologies such as AI, Blockchain, and the gradual launch of 5G services, telecommunication providers are at the heart of innovation. Read More

MWC19 Keynote Summary: The best of MWC19

With under three weeks to go before MWC19 begins, the planning phase is over, and the hectic execution phase reaches its peak. The official MWC conference programme is complete, with 59 conference session, totalling 62 hours of content, from 330 speakers, 43% of which, lead their respective organisations. These speakers come from 40 countries from all over the world. MWC is a truly global event. Read More

MWC19 Theme Report: Connectivity


It’s simplistic to say networks supporting LTE-A, NB-IoT and 5G are becoming more complex. As new types of devices with different needs from classic smartphone and computer usage come onto networks in their millions, then it changes the way we have to think of the whole network architecture. We cannot think about the network’s elements and interactions in isolation. Instead, the capabilities of the network as a whole need to be thought through, and only then how each element (compute node, cell, radio technology, network slice, etc) plays its part in relation to the others. Read More

Women4Tech takes centre stage at MWC19

The 2019 edition of MWC is almost upon us and is shaping up to be an impressive event, as 110,000 attendees prepare to gather in Barcelona to discover the latest industry developments, do business, network – and possibly attend some of the famous parties. Read More

MWC19 Theme Report: AI

AI: Key Definitions, Assertions and Market Trends

PwC estimates that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could add $15.7 trillion to global GDP by 2030. With a multiplicity of definitions, applications and rapidly evolving capabilities, AI is a subject that polarizes popular opinion. Key protagonists in this domain remain divided in their opinions on whether AI will ultimately benefit society or destroy it.
Read More

MWC19 Shanghai Call for Speakers – 3 Common Questions Answered

If you are new to the GSMA’s events, you may well have some questions about the MWC Shanghai Call for Speakers process. In this post, Alex talks you through some of the most common. Read More

MWC19 Theme Report: Disruptive Innovation


Disruptive innovation, a term coined by Clayton Christensen, describes a process by which: Read More

MWC19 Theme Report: Digital Wellness


Technology holds an immense power to transform and enhance people’s physical and mental wellbeing. Whether that be through AI and analytics increasing medical efficiency, facilitating remote surgery over superfast networks, providing access to information for those in remote and underserved areas, engineering advanced synthetic organs, or transporting patients to virtual worlds for therapy and rehabilitation. Read More