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Telecoms tycoon says Africa can emulate India to build its digital infrastructure

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Telecoms tycoon says Africa can emulate India to build its digital infrastructure

The success, so far, of India’s digital transformation and innovation prowess can be a big inspiration for African countries in the development of their own digital infrastructure.

This is according to Sunil Bharti Mittal, telecommunications industry tycoon and chairman of multinational conglomerate Bharti Enterprises, as reported by India’s Economic Times.

Speaking recently during a telecoms event in India, Mittal said Africa’s 55 countries can learn from India’s model to build critical digital infrastructure which can help ramp up the continent’s socio-economic development efforts.

According to the business mogul, building digital identity and other important digital infrastructure will not only make for the shortage of physical infrastructure suffered by the continent, it will enable it improve its manufacturing which he says currently stands at just two percent of the global total.

Mittal added that his experience working in the digital connectivity domain in 15 African countries in the last 13 years shows that more attention has to be paid to it, and India, to him, has shown the example of how it can be done.

“The famously called JAM trinity (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and mobile combination) is the right way to apply into Africa, so that they can get to at least a very high-quality digital connectivity across the entire continent,” says Mittal as quoted by The Economic Times.

He went on that India’s progress in the domain of skilling, education and healthcare via the use of digital technology is good enough for the model to be replicated in Africa as it’s “frugal and low-cost.”

While digital connectivity is important, Mittal also spoke about the import of physical connectivity saying it can also be improved.

India’s digital infrastructure advances have been cited as a reference especially for African countries before.

Last month, speakers at the Digital Convergence Initiative workshop said the interoperability model of India’s digital infrastructure (the India stack) heralds good news for the private sector and can be used by African nations to separate the population and social protection registers for greater efficiency.

A development policy researcher also argued in an article last year that India’s digital experience as exemplified by the robustness of the Aadhaar digital ID has the potential to inspire African countries undertaking digital transformation projects.

India is also using its G20 presidency to mobilize nations on the need to build vital digital public infrastructure which, which it posits, are important for attaining sustainable development goals.

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