Zim business executive Africa’s top CEO Ralph Mupita

Oliver Kazunga Senior Business Reporter

AFRICA’s top CEO is Zimbabwean business executive Mr Ralph Mupita, who is president and chief executive officer of MTN, the continent’s largest cellular services operator.

Mr Mupita received the CEO of the Year award during a ceremony held at the Africa CEO Forum annual summit in Kigali, Rwanda, on Saturday night.

He was appointed to the helm of MTN, whose services include voice, data and fintech, in September 2020.

Prior to leading MTN, he had served as the group’s financial officer since April 2017.

Posting on his official X handle yesterday, Mr Mupita expressed gratitude over his latest accolade.

“Last night (Saturday), l was honoured to be in the audience to notice this momentous occasion. In Rwanda amongst industry giants, a Zimbabwean (Ralph Tendai Mupita), MTN chief executive officer won the main award,” he said.

“My second name is Tendai which means l was born grateful. l was born in the small city of Mutare, which means l was born curious. I dedicate this award to all the curious young boys out there, especially the small boys in Mutare.”

Meanwhile, the regional telecommunications group has called for the harmonisation of regulations in Africa to accelerate digital investment.

Speaking at the opening panel of the Africa CEO Forum annual summit on Friday, Mr Mupita urged governments across Africa to consider harmonising regulations, particularly in the technology sector, to support the increased capital investment in digital infrastructure required to accelerate economic development.

“I would argue that the thing we do need to think about is harmonising regulatory developments, particularly in the technology space,” he said, referencing the numerous different regulations that apply across Africa, where the population is of a similar size to that of India – a single country where only one set of regulations apply.

“How do we create regulatory systems that are common across Africa?” he asked delegates to the forum, adding that harmonisation would help investors better anticipate their own returns and in turn encourage investment.

MTN has mobile operations in 17 African countries that include South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Cameroon, South Sudan, and Uganda.

Currently, the group is working to extend digital inclusion in line with the United Nations goals for universal broadband access.

Only around 500 million of the 1,2 billion people in Africa use mobile services. Just over half (57 percent) use 2G or better. That means only a quarter of Africans have access to the internet on their phone. Many do not have smartphones, or cannot afford them, and are digitally excluded.

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