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James G. Claude [GVG]: “Our goal for 2022 is to expand our business and increase our already significant presence on the African continent”

James G. Claude [GVG]: "Our goal for 2022 is to expand our business and increase our already significant presence on the African continent"

[DIGITAL Business Africa] –  Global Voice Group  (GVG) iOne of the core leaders in its business segment, says its systems analyse and process eight billion telecom-related transactions every day and have helped ensure compliance of more than 115 million mobile devices.

For the year 2022, the group crowned “Technology Company of the Year” on November 24, 2021 by Africa Tech Week during an awards ceremony held in South Africa, sets itself the goal to develop its activities and increase its presence on the African continent, by multiplying new partnerships.

Digital Business Africa gives the floor today to James G. Claude, CEO of GVG, who presents the trends of 2022 and its ambitions in 2022.

Digital Business Africa: The year 2021 is coming to an end with a tentative economic recovery in many African states. What do you see as the key e-governance challenges for African states in 2021?

James G. Claude:  The biggest challenge for African states is to achieve their digital transformation in a sovereign and self-sufficient manner, without being dictated to by GAFAM or influenced by the current digital powers. This challenge of sovereignty and self-sufficiency implies the development of technological infrastructures in African countries capable of supporting the needs of businesses, individuals and governments alike.

In Africa, there is currently a strong demand for data centres and regional cloud computing from both businesses and governments in Africa. A report by Arizton speaks of a combined annual growth of 15% until 2026.

But even today, much of the data generated in Africa is beyond the control of Africans. This situation is improving with an increased investment in local digital development in Africa, spurred by growing internet penetration on the continent. But the data gap between Africa and the rest of the world remains large, with Africa accounting for just 1% of the world’s data centres.

Digital education also has a major role to play in creating a more favorable environment for investment in this area.

Digital Business Africa: What do you think will be the main trends in 2022 in terms of regulation of the mobile and digital ecosystem in Africa?

James G. Claude: I anticipate two very strong and complementary trends: a growing desire to achieve greater regulatory harmonisation in this area in sub-Saharan Africa and the increasing adoption of technological tools to support the regulation of these ecosystems.

Regulatory harmonisation is essential to achieve economies of scale that promote digital inclusion and reduce inequality in sub-Saharan Africa. There are pan-African organisations such as Smart Africa, of which we are a member, that have been working hard over the past few years to achieve a framework that harmonises regulation across all African countries.

I hope that the ambition of greater regulatory and tariff harmony will be realised by 2022.

If we achieve this, the consequences will only be positive for Africa’s economic integration and both financial and digital inclusion thanks to economies of scale and a subsequent fall in prices. But this harmonisation also requires a comparable technological upgrade within governments and regulatory authorities in all African countries. There is currently a very strong consensus across Africa on the need to accelerate the digital transformation not only of companies, but also within governments and state agencies.

It is a new paradigm that is emerging, one of ICT-enabled governance and data-driven regulation and Big Data. At GVG, we have been actively working on this transformation for almost twenty years in Africa in the areas of telecom regulation and financial ecosystem governance.

Digital Business Africa: How does GVG intend to deploy in African countries in 2022? James G. Claude: Our goal for 2022 is to expand our business and increase our already significant presence on the African continent, both through new partnerships and by strengthening our existing partnerships with our African clients.   We are working on a portfolio that meets the evolving needs of governments. We are a flexible and adaptable company and we intend to continue in the same vein.

Digital Business Africa: Which of GVG’s control solutions do you think will be most prominent in 2022?

James G. Claude: If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s that everything can change from one day to the next. The needs of consumers and their governments can change rapidly for many different reasons, a pandemic, an economic crisis…

Technology itself is already by its very nature a fast-moving industry. That’s why we like to keep up to date, we try to adapt quickly to new trends, we listen carefully to our customers’ needs. Covid has set its own rules; the progress towards a digital economy has been incredible in the last year and a half. We already offer several tools that support governments in financial inclusion and digital transformation.

For example, we’re helping to address interoperability with our Transfin payment gateway; we’re helping to secure mobile money and remittances, which many families in Africa depend on, with platforms like M3 and X Stream. We continue to create, grow and adapt to the needs of African governments. We are working hard to be able to present several solutions soon that will surprise with their technological innovation… I can’t tell you more at the moment. Digital Business Africa: You are deploying many solutions in Africa, such as TransFin, SafetyNet, Simbox control solutions, etc. What are the electronic communications regulation solutions you have deployed that you are most proud of in terms of their impact on states and populations?

James G. Claude: Our solutions help governments gain better regulatory and fiscal control of key sectors for the economic development of their countries. They help protect these sectors and, by extension, the users of their services, that is, the citizens. Every time we implement one of our solutions, we contribute to building a more secure economy, and that is the achievement we are most proud of.

Just to give you some figures, our systems analyse and process eight billion telecom-related transactions every day. To date, they have helped ensure compliance for over 115 million mobile devices.

But much of our work goes beyond these numbers. At GVG, we strongly believe that capability building is fundamental to digital transformation. That’s why we also train the public employees who work with our solutions, once implemented, so that they gain the autonomy and skills to handle these tools well. The impact of our solutions on governments therefore goes far beyond their direct financial benefits

Digital Business Africa: In April 2021, you signed an agreement with Guinea Conakry to deploy a state-of-the-art regulatory platform for the mobile and digital ecosystem in Guinea. Was this one of your biggest deals in 2021?

James G. Claude: The Guinea deal is certainly of particular importance to us.

Every new customer is always an exciting challenge and a new opportunity to excel. But when it’s an old partner who has accompanied us in our development in the past, this partnership renewal is a sign of confidence that inspires and motivates us in particular.

So, yes, this is one of our great successes in 2021, on a par with the overall performance of our company, which has managed to stay on course and create new jobs despite the pandemic.

Digital Business Africa: Global Voice Group (GVG) was also named ‘Technology Company of the Year’ on 24 November 2021 by Africa Tech Week at an awards ceremony in South Africa. What is the significance of this award for you?   James G. Claude: This award is a reflection of the great work done by each of the departments and people that make up the Global Voice Group. An award like this always makes you proud of the company you represent. In 2021 when we are still fighting a pandemic that has severely affected the global economy, receiving an award like this makes you, as CEO, realise what a great team you have.

Never before have I believed more in the saying: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’. GVG lives because we are a team, a family that pulls through, in the best and worst of times.

Awards like this give us the energy to continue working on developing new solutions that support financial inclusion and digital transformation on the African continent.

Digital Business Africa: In June 2021, GVG fervently denounced the defamatory attacks in some media that accused you of abuse of dominant position among others. In your view, GVG strictly adheres to international standards of good practice in tendering for public contracts. Who do you think your detractors are and what is your strength that makes your solutions the most popular?

James G. Claude: We don’t usually pay attention to slander, because our work speaks for itself. But sometimes you have to raise your voice in the face of lies and defend a team that works hard to achieve its goals.

Our solutions gain support precisely because we don’t waste our time doing anything other than our work. When we set a goal, we put 100% of our effort into it, always putting the customer and their needs first.

Interviewed by Beaugas Orain DJOYUM

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