TC|Daily | Russell Southwood on the African telecoms revolution

Russell Southwood

Russell Southwood probably knows more about the communications revolution in Africa than anyone. The founder and CEO of Balancing Act Africa, Southwood has covered the industry for decades.

In a new book, he’s now shared the story of how Africa went from having fewer telephone lines than Manhattan in 1986 to having telecommunications serve as a platform for sweeping changes in the way Africans communicate, connect, entertain themselves and engage in commerce.

Southwood’s Africa 2.0 – Inside a Continent’s Communications Revolution tells the story of what sparked the telecommunications boom in Africa and the people and companies who led it from the front.

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Southwood joins Duncan McLeod in the TechCentral studio to talk to TC|Daily about the book.

In the discussion, he relates some of his most memorable experiences of covering ICT in Africa.

Other topics include:

  • The importance of prepaid in igniting the communications boom in Africa;
  • The genesis and rise of mobile money;
  • Why the sector only boomed when governments got out of the way; and
  • How corruption has impacted — and continues to affect — the sector.

As investments in undersea cables, cloud data centres, 5G and fibre networks accelerates, Southwood gives his views what the next chapter might look like for ICT in Africa.

Don’t miss this great discussion!

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