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APD 2024 Compact: Akufo-Addo pushes for Africa-wide mobile interoperability system at AU Summit

Akufo-Addo called for the adoption of the compact from the 2024 Africa Prosperity Dialogues and for an African interoperability network

The President of the Republic of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, used the last of his African Union February summits to launch a passionate appeal to the AU and colleague heads of state to support the implementation of an Africa-wide mobile telephony interoperability system.

Addressing the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State of the AU today (Sunday 18 February 2024), the Ghanaian leader called for the adoption of the compact document of the 2024 Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD 2024).

He also used the opportunity to call specifically for the adoption of a continental interoperability network across all member states.

This, the president stressed, would give a big boost to Africa’s efforts towards building the world’s largest single market with the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) by allowing tens of millions of Africans to buy and sell goods and services across borders in their local currencies.

In his address to fellow leaders in the Nelson Mandela Plenary Hall of the AU head office in Addis Ababa, President Akufo-Addo said Africa’s ambition to establish the world’s largest single market under the AfCFTA will be enhanced mightily by the continent’s leaders adopting a “collective, aggressive embrace of the digital economy and its available tools”.

President Akufo-Addo addresses the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State of the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Sunday 18 February 2024)

He said, “At the end of last month’s three-day Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD) 2024, which I was happy to host at the Peduase Presidential Lodge in Aburi, Ghana, the participants signed up to the Peduase Compact, a document I am informed has been widely distributed here at this summit.

“Allow me to focus on one very transformative and, at the same time, very doable item in the compact, which if implemented can truly and meaningfully fast-track the inclusive realisation of the AfCFTA. This is the introduction of an Africa-wide mobile telephony interoperability,” President Akufo-Addo said.

“The participants at this year’s Africa Prosperity Dialogues were unanimous in agreeing that enabling interoperability to have a single pan-African payment system is the easiest, quickest and most effective way to accelerate and deepen the single market project in Africa.

“It is a ‘low-hanging fruit’ way of making the AfCFTA immediately meaningful to tens of millions of people across Africa,” the president further said.


Citing statistics to support his call, President Akufo-Addo said: “Figures provided at the Dialogues by the AFDB and backed by the GSM Association indicate that almost half of all Africans have a sim card, 28% are accessing the internet, and we saw a whopping US$832 billion worth of mobile money transactions in sub-Saharan Africa in 2022 alone.”

President Akufo-Addo addresses the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State of the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Sunday 18 February 2024)

That $832 billion figure for 2022 is estimated to have grown further by at least 30% last year and it is anticipated that it will grow significantly more if Africans are allowed to use their mobile money wallets to buy and sell across borders.

“Imagine where this [$832bn] figure will be with a common interoperability system working across all member states. Imagine for a moment a world where a market trader in Johannesburg can easily and securely send money to her family in Dakar, without the need for cumbersome currency exchanges or risky cash transfers,” President Akufo-Addo told the assembly of African leaders.

The Ghanaian leader further charged his colleagues also to imagine “a world where consumers can use their mobile phones to seamlessly purchase goods and services across African borders, in their currencies. This is the world that we can build and we must build now with utmost urgency here in Africa.”

He noted that the technology is available to achieve continental interoperability. What is left is the political will to realise it: “We have the technology to make it a reality. What is required is the collective political will to make it happen, and now.”

Moreover, interoperability, if implemented across the 55 states of Africa, is expected to do away with or considerably reduce roaming charges across the continent, as is the case throughout the European Union.

President Akufo-Addo was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, to the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (Sunday 18 February 2024)


The annual Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD) is the flagship event of the Africa Prosperity Network (APN). It is a three-day retreat in the eastern hills of Ghana, dedicated to Africa’s business, political and other institutional leaders, and gives the chance to discuss and take actionable decisions on how to implement with urgency Africa’s all-important single market project, as a viable pathway for achieving shared, sustainable prosperity across Africa’s 1.4 billion citizens.

This year’s event took place from 25-27 January at the Peduase Presidential Lodge, in the Aburi Hills of the Eastern Region of Ghana. The three-day retreat was attended by over 1,000 participants, including presidents, prime ministers, ministers, other high-level government officials from across Africa, thought leaders, chief executive officers and heads of national and multinational institutions.

The Peduase Compact, among other things, called on all African countries to allow visa-free access for Africans travelling to other African states.

President Akufo-Addo with colleague leaders at the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State of the African Union in Addis Ababa (18 February 2024)

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Addis Ababa

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