AfricaCom highlights mobile, AI projects taking on regional challenges

ICT leaders showcase innovations for financial inclusion, rural connectivity, and business process efficiencies

africacom
Heath Muchena

The AfricaCom conference in Cape Town last week highlighted how mobile and AI applications are being deployed throughout sub-Saharan Africa to lower the costs of implementing new services and optimize business processes – core goals for most major IT project worldwide, but ones that are especially important in emerging markets struggling to overcome infrastructure and economic challenges.

The adoption of emerging AI and mobile technology, for example, is bringing financial services to populations not served by traditional banks, and connectivity to areas unconnected by fixed- line networks.

Wireless technology is generally viewed as crucial to enabling digital transformation projects on the continent, since fixed-line infrastructure remains unreliable in many areas.

"Digital is the future and mobile is key not only in customer engagement but in executing business processes thus making it a central feature in digital transformation on the continent," said Adrian Ho, practice leader for Enterprise Advanced Digital Services at Ovum, during the conference -- the largest tech event on the continent, this year counting some 15,000 attendees, 450 speakers and 500 exhibitors.

One of the more ambitious mobile projects announced at the show was the MTN Group’s plan to roll out more than 5,000 commercial rural sites across 21 regional operations using OpenRAN technology to enable the deployment of 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity in currently unconnected areas.

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