Airtel Africa Group CEO Segun Ogunsanya has urged telecommunications industry players in Africa to take advantage of emerging technologies to push for digital and financial inclusion.

Speaking at the just concluded Mobile World Congress in Kigali, Dr Ogunsanya said this will empower Africa’s population to connect, engage and transact with the rest of the world.

He challenged telcos to leverage on tech to upscale efforts to bridge the digital divide, drive financial inclusion and deepen availability of affordable smart devices across the continent.

The Airtel Africa Group CEO cited Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) as a key tool to predict customer behaviour and deepening insights on customer needs and preferences.

He noted that there are prospects in intelligent connectivity, which forecasts combination of 5G, Internet of Things and AI to advance tech and enable new disruptive digital services.

“The telecom industry is in a unique position to make it easier for people to enter the digital world by deploying these technologies. This is through significant investments in building digital highways across the continent, while creating a vibrant mobile money ecosystem,” indicated Dr Ogunsanya.

He added: “Through collaborations with equipment manufacturers and other key stakeholders, we can put smart devices in the hands of every African.”

According to Airtel Africa Group, a significant section of Africa’s youth remains unreached with 59 per cent smartphone penetration and only 2 per cent having a mobile money wallet.

The company noted that emerging tech can be adopted in AI-aided e-learning, e-health, Agritech, financial inclusion, smart cities, development planning, and smart metering.

Airtel Africa is rolling out 5G network across its 14 African markets coming after partnering with the Rwanda Government to avail one million people with affordable LTE smartphones.