Lucy Quist was invited to speaking at the Africa Development and Investment Convention (ADIC) 2016, an annual gathering of seasoned global business leaders and investors, where she called for more strategic partnerships and investment in Africa’s telecommunications sector.
Her speech cited the growth in the industry, Africa’s youthful population and the majority of the continent’s population who are yet to be connected as opportunities for investment in the sector.
Africa’s place in the global telecom economy
Sharing her views on Africa’s place in the global economy, Lucy Quist said “Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world with a burgeoning middle class. According to the African Development Bank, between 2000 and 2010, the number of middle class Africans grew by 130m and projected to increase to 230m by 2020”.
Citing research findings from the GSMA, Mrs. Quist explained that although more than 557 million unique subscribers have been connected as at the end of 2015 – the equivalent of 46% of Africa’s total population – the continent still remains the least penetrated mobile market in the world.
Challenges in power supply and technology
Lucy Quist highlighted some of the supply side challenges confronting the telecomm industry in Africa such as power supply, population density and technology and proposed ways these can be converted into investment opportunities.
Concluding, Lucy Quist encouraged investors to be open to the opportunities Africa presents in telecommunications infrastructure, Fibre, LTE, rural connectivity and Wi-Fi access in open places. She said “Africa will remain the desired investment destination for many industries, including telecommunications for the foreseeable future. The time to take that bold step and invest on the continent is now”.