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GSMAZ Officially Launches Its Operations In Zambia To Enhance Financial And Digital Inclusion

(Image L-R: CCPC Executive Director – Mr. Chilufya Sampa, ZICTA Acting DG, Mrs. Pethel Phiri, ZAMTEL Acting CEO Mr. Joshua Malupenga, Minister of Technology and Science Hon. Felix Mutati, MTN CEO, Mr. Bart Hofker and Airtel CEO, Mr. Apoorva Mehrotra)

The Global System for Mobile Association of Zambia (GSMAZ) has officially launched its operations in Zambia with the main objective to have a strong industry lobby group for GSM telecommunications operators in Zambia and to be utilised as a platform for influencing and ensuring the emergence and sustained development of pro-competitive, harmonised telecommunications policies and legal and regulatory frameworks in Zambia. The local GSMAZ has been set up by three mobile operators MTN Zambia, Airtel Networks Zambia PLC and Zamtel.

Minister of Technology and Science Hon. Felix Mutati greets Bart Hofker, MTN Zambia CEO (middle) and Apoorva Mehrotra, Airtel Zambia CEO (right)

The GSMAZ will collaborate with ZICTA, the local government, and other organizations to promote policies that encourages growth of the digital economy. This is in line with government’s objective to increase access to and utilization of a broad range of high-quality and reasonably priced financial services, particularly by women, young people, people with disabilities, those residing in rural areas, as well as Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, which are essential in ensuring citizen participation in the economy.

MTN Zambia Chief Executive Officer and current GSMAZ Chairperson Mr. Bart Hofker stated that, “The launch of GSMAZ comes at an opportune time with the national development focus and intends to influence the efficient development and sustained growth of a strong and vibrant mobile telecommunications sector in Zambia based on the recognition that mobile technology plays a crucial role in tackling numerous socio-economic development concerns across the country, particularly digital and financial inclusion. This digital inclusion will promote infrastructure and economic growth, boost employment and productivity across the country, and enhance access to essential services like healthcare and education. In addition, the formation of the GSMAZ will promote effective cooperation and partnership amongst Mobile Network Operators (“MNO”) members and various other stakeholders, and we believe that by working together, we can build a more inclusive society where everyone can prosper”.

The GSMAZ is focusing on financial and digital inclusion as one of its key strategic areas. With the help of ZICTA, the Ministry of Technology and Science, the Government of the Republic of Zambia and Zambian citizens will have access to essential financial services to participate in the digital economy. This is an important step in improving people’s lives in Zambia and will provide positive change in the economy.

Airtel Zambia Managing Director, Mr. Apoorva Mehrotra said: “As Airtel Zambia, we are excited to witness the launch of the GSMAZ which is an association that stands to advance the interest of MNOs in Zambia as well as enhance the welfare of the entire industry. Since the inception of the telecommunications industry, MNOs have typically operated in silos with a more ‘competitive’ approach. However, in recent years, with the increased demands of the industry and its key stakeholders, MNOs have had to adopt a more collaborative approach to advance cross-cutting industry concerns and continue to elevate the profile of mobile telecommunications in the Country. Topical issues such as digital transformation, digital financial inclusion and digital literacy have brought to the fore the need for key industry players to ‘hold hands’ and ‘speak with one voice’ if we are to achieve the Government’s broad objectives in respect of the digital transformation agenda. It is our earnest belief that the GSMAZ through its members and dedicated staff will provide a vibrant platform through which MNOs will be able to achieve the foregoing agenda and reshape not only the telecommunications industry, but the entire digital ecosystem in Zambia.”

Zamtel, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Joshua Malupenga stated: “As Zamtel we delighted to be part of this significant milestone for the GSMAZ as all the MNOs have continued to provide innovative digital services that are responsive to the ever-changing needs of our customers. It is our belief that the GSMAZ through its members will support Government’s efforts in enhancing digital capacity and reducing the cost of doing business.

The launch of the GSMAZ further represents the commitment that all the MNOs have continued to show in supporting Government’s digital transformation agenda, which emphasizes the provision of the quality digital services to everyone, anywhere, at any time.”

Source: MTN Zambia