12 July 2017

East Africa: #M360Africa - GSMA Mobile 360 Africa Kicks Off - Sets Focus On the Role of Mobile Technology On Achieving SDGs

GSMA Mobile 360-Africa kicked off in Dar-es-Salaam Tanzania with the main keynote speakers focusing majorly on the role of mobile technology in achieving the Agenda 2030 for the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The event was presided over by H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan, Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania. In attendance were also Mats Granyard Director General GSMA, His Excellency Makame Mnyaa Mbarawa, Minister for Works, Transport and Communication United Republic of Tanzania and Bob Collymore, CEO Safaricom.

In her opening remarks H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan said, "The interest for mobile operators to make mobile work for Africa is clearly indicated in the preparatory work that has gone into the conference and at the rate of the expertise here today. I am witnessing firsthand the enthusiasm of this community to drive efforts to make use of mobile technology to achieve Sustainable Development. Today's Conference is surely a good step in the right direction."

She further added that Tanzania greatly valued the partnership with GSMA and was keen to expand her collaboration around the empowerment of the People of Tanzania in the mobile industry in-order to achieve the implementation of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable development AU Agenda 2063 and Tanzanian Vision 2020.

"Today there are over 5 billion mobile phones in developing countries These numbers speak for themselves and indicate that we can never ignore the critical role of mobile technology placed in our economies. Mobile phones are now held as critical enablers to eradicate poverty in all its forms and achieve Sustainable Growth Agenda," stated Her Excellency.

"It is obvious that the achievement of the 17 SDGs and its 169 targets depend on mobile industry with varying degrees . One cannot talk about the achievement of SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and infrastructure, SDG 1, No Poverty, SDG 4, Quality education and SDG 13 Climate action without direct correlation of Mobile industry. The same applys to the AU Agenda Vision 2063 and the Tanzania Vision 2020," she concluded.

Mats Granryd, Director General GSMA said," Last year we had announced our involvement in the UN SDGs Goal and this year, we have published a report showing the impact the Mobile Industry has had on SDGs and the 169 targets. We are certainly targeting all the goals.

Citing a few examples he said, "To achieve SDG 5 on Gender Equality, we have the GSMA Connected Women Initiative. On SDG 11 that touches on Sustainable Cities and Communities GSMA runs Humanitarian Connectivity Charter. We have 112 Operators that have made it to the charter."

In addition, Mr. Granryd said that the Mobile Industry cannot solve the challenges of SDGs alone. He therefore called on Governments Industries humanitarian Organisations and individuals must all come together to build partnerships that can accelerate the achievement of these goals.

On his end Bob Collymore, CEO Safaricom, said in his keynote, "Every day a life is transformed by the ubiquity of mobile technology. That is why as Safaricom we place purpose before profit and our purpose is to transform lives. We are in an era where Mobile Operators are beginning to adopt SDGs in such a way that no other industry has done before. At Safaricom we have actually embedded nine of the 17 SDGs to our day to day operations."

This year the three day conference will seek to address themes around the State of the Industry: Mobile as a platform for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa, Expanding and enhancing mobile broadband connectivity, Identity as a pathway to social transformation, Continuing growth and innovation across Africa, What does a digital future look like for Africa? IoT for Africa: Building smart communities, User generated content: creating local, relevant content for all and Leveraging the power of mobile to advance digital Africa

Designed to cover key developments and future roadmaps in Africa, GSMA Mobile 360 Series - Africa last year outlined new strategies and cross-industry collaboration required to accelerate access across the region. This year's programme included enabling access for all, delivering quality of experience, creating local digital content and the next wave of valueadded services. Attendance at last year's event nearly doubled from 2015 with a total of 850 attendees.

This event saw a good distribution of attendees from a range of industries. The leading industries in attendance were Mobile Network Operators, Finance/Banking/Insurance, Government/Regulatory, and Broadcast/Media. Additional industries represented in the "Other" category included Mobile Content/Creation Provider, Integrated Solution Vendor, Healthcare/Biotechnology/Pharma, and Venture Capital.

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