Monday, 15 April

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

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has used his last of the African Union’s (AU's) annual February summits to launch a passionate appeal to the AU and his 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 African Union (AU), on Sunday, 18 February 2024, the Ghanaian leader called for the adoption of the 2024 Africa Prosperity Dialogues (APD 2024) Compact Document and, specifically, for the adoption of a continental interoperability network across all member states.

This, he stressed, would give a major boost to Africa’s efforts toward building the world’s largest single market through 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 his fellow leaders at the Nelson Mandela Plenary Hall at the AU head office in Addis Ababa, President Akufo-Addo said Africa's ambition to establish the world's largest single market under AfCFTA will be enhanced mightily by the continent's leaders adopting a “collective, aggressive embrace of the digital economy and its available tools.”

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 AfCFTA immediately meaningful to tens of millions of people across Africa", President Akufo-Addo further stated.


Statistical facts

Adding statistics to back his call, President Akufo-Addo indicated that “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.”

This $832 billion 2022 figure is estimated to have grown further by at least 30% last year and to 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 suggested to the assembly of African leaders.

The Ghanaian leader further charged his colleagues to also 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 was available to achieve continental interoperability. What was left was the political will; “We have the technology to make it a reality. What is required is the collective political will to make it happen and now.”

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



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

This year’s event took place from 25 to 27 January 2024, at the Peduase Presidential Lodge, Aburi Hills, in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Over one thousand participants made up of presidents, prime ministers, ministers, other high-level government officials from across Africa, thought leaders, chief executive officers, and heads of national and multinational institutions, among others, attended the 3-day retreat.

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