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Monday, October 2, 2023

Africell CEO talks on 5G, new WhatsApp bundle and praises Communications Minister


By Lamin Cham

In an exclusive interview with The Standard, Africell Gambia’s CEO, Mr Hussein Diab-Ghanem shared his insights on the rapidly evolving telecommunications sector in The Gambia, the recent 5G launch by a competitor, and the newly introduced Africell “WhatsApp data bundle”. Mr Diab also had high praises for the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Ousman Bah.

When asked about the recent launch of 5G services by a competitor, Diab confidently brushed off the development and hinted at Africell’s upcoming game-changing moves. “Innovation is at the heart of Africell. While our competitors may have introduced 5G, we have something in the pipeline that will truly revolutionise the way our customers interact with the digital world.”

CEO Diab divulged that Africell invests millions of dollars each year to ensure that its network is world class.  “It comes as no surprise that our 4G network is at least 5 times faster than any other 4G network in The Gambia.  When we do something, we do not rush to do it first; we simply insist on doing it best. Two weeks ago, on a short trip to our head office in UK, I was pleasantly surprised that the network speeds I was getting on 4G networks in London paled in comparison to what we have here in The Gambia and this can be verified by anyone with a smartphone running a speed test application.

“The Gambia has come a long way when it comes to telecommunications and Africell as a Gambian-born multinational company, is proud to have contributed immensely to that evolution.”

“Our customers should anticipate a product that will not only match but surpass expectations,” he said.”

Diab was particularly eager to discuss Africell’s newly-launched “WhatsApp data bundle”, a value-packed offering which is up to 80% cheaper than their regular bundles. “The ‘WhatsApp data bundle’ is a response to the evolving communication needs of our customers, especially the younger generation. It’s about making their favourite mode of communication more affordable,” said the CEO.

The idea of a data bundle specifically for WhatsApp usage was first brought up by the current minister of communication and digital economy, Mr Ousman Bah. Giving credit where it’s due, Diab commended Minister Bah for the concept. “I would like to acknowledge the forward-thinking approach of Minister Bah. It was after his appointment in July 2022 that such a bundle was first discussed. We are glad we could actualise his vision,” said Diab.

As the country’s leading tax payer, Africell is continually shaping the Gambian telecommunications industry. The guidance of leaders like Mr Diab ensures a consistent focus on innovation and customer satisfaction. Beyond their core telecommunications business, Africell has made substantial contributions through its “Impact Foundation”, solidifying its position as the largest CSR provider in The Gambia.

In 2022 alone, the institution sponsored a multitude of projects, furthering its commitment to societal betterment. These initiatives included the construction of parks and outdoor gyms, sponsorship of the Gambia’s National Football team, and extensive support for the health sector. Notably, they also exposed over 3,000 students, particularly girls, to coding and technology, supporting the education sector’s advancement. Moreover, Africell fostered religious tolerance by providing assistance to various mosques and churches throughout The Gambia.

Diab’s final words in our interview were a commitment to this philosophy: “We are here to serve our customers with pioneering solutions that make their lives better, and we won’t stop at anything less.”

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