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Today’s digital evolution has paved the way for more woman empowerment, thus bringing to light the achievements that women are making in all fields, including the ICT industry.

In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Madhavi Ramachandran, GM legal and regulatory, MTN GlobalConnect, spoke about her experience as a woman leader in the ICT industry. She also tackled the impact of the pandemic on the market.  

Please give us an idea about your professional background and your role at MTN GlobalConnect as General Manager of legal and regulatory.

I am grateful for an interesting career so far. I started off as a junior associate in Mumbai, India and I got involved in IPOs during what was a tremendous period of economic liberalisation in the early 2000s.  Thereafter I pursued and completed my Masters of Law at University College London, and I moved to the Middle East in 2005.

As the head of legal and regulatory at MTN GlobalConnect, I strive to adopt the best practices and offer elegant and quality services to inhouse customers. My position encompasses a good mix of contracts, transactional and dispute management. In addition, as the business grows, there is much focus on creating a compliant legal and regulatory strategy to launch new initiatives. 

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the telecoms and infrastructure market in Africa? Has anything changed from a legal and regulatory perspective?

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need to provide enhanced telecom and infrastructure solutions. With work from home and other drivers, there is a need for reliable connectivity, and good user experience.  From a legal and regulatory perspective, MTN GlobalConnect sees that some of the technological platforms shall be a main-stay and that we need to invest more in legal tech. For instance, a high uptake on digital and e-signatures for document sign-off was noted during the pandemic.    

Share with us your experience as a woman leader in the ICT industry. What would be your sage words for those women who may aspire to follow in your footsteps?

The ICT industry generally has been a bit slow in the promotion of women leaders, but things are changing. To all future women leaders, I would say: follow your head and heart, seek out female role models and follow what inspires you. We are making good efforts on our diversity and inclusion agenda and these should have an impact in harnessing a future for women leaders.

In your opinion, how can the ICT industry become more accommodating and encouraging of women participating in various leadership roles? 

A workplace with diversity, inclusion and authenticity where words translate into actions is what women need to see and be inspired by. I am always excited to listen to women leaders and the wisdom that they’re able to bring to the table. The ICT industry needs to nurture and harness the talent and dynamism of future women leaders and provide opportunities for their participation right from the start in internship/graduate programmes to mid-career and senior roles, and embed them into their hiring and talent management practices.

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