Ambassador J. Peter Pham, a member of Africell Group’s Board of Directors, considered that a developed telecommunications sector “is essential” for the diversification of the Angolan economy.
“I think that increasing speed, increasing accessibility, improving communications are necessary for any country, wherever they are, on their path toward development, but most certainly for countries seeking diversification it is an indispensable condition”, the American academic and diplomat remarked, in an interview with Lusa news agency, after a visit to Angola.
Telecommunications infrastructure and services are “essential,” he continued, “to attract investment, especially as the world becomes increasingly knowledge-based, as more people work virtually.”
Even in “traditional economies based on extractive [industries] and others, access is needed for their management, nothing is purely mechanical,” he said, illustrating his point with the diamond auctions that took place in Luanda, which attracted worldwide interest.
Africell was the winner of the international public tender for the fourth universal mobile communications license in Angola, launched by the Angolan government, with the aim of reforming the sector and contributing to the further development of its economy.
The group, with US capital but managed from London, promised to invest “several hundred million dollars” in infrastructure and services and start operating in 2021, estimating that in the next five years 6,500 jobs will be created.
Africell wants to create in Angola a high-speed, data-centric mobile network and sophisticated smartphones at affordable prices, similar to what it does in Uganda, Sierra Leone, Gambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it has an estimated base of 12 million customers.
Pham, a former US special envoy for the Sahel region and a current member of the Atlantic Council, joined the administration earlier this month and two weeks later joined a tour of the different markets where the group operates, including Luanda.
In Angola, he said in his interview, a new dynamism was found, created by the presidency of João Lourenço in his campaign against corruption, which “gave us confidence, instigating not only Africell, but other companies to invest in the Angolan economy, something that has not been seen for a long time outside the oil industry”.