The Woman Who Made a Career by Smearing African Revenue Assurance

Telecommunications is one of the areas that face complaints because the operators make billions but pay small amounts of tax. In fact they even boast about it…

Angela Collings (pictured, per the image she provided for an article in CIO East Africa) is the most widely-published writer about telecoms revenue assurance that you have never heard of. She has told countless people across numerous African countries about the need for telecoms revenue assurance and fraud management, and that the people employed by African telcos cannot be trusted to deliver. The titles of her articles provide some insight into the wide range of benefits that Collings promises, if governments perform revenue assurance like she wants them to. All of them reiterate the same fundamental concept: you cannot trust what telcos say about their revenues.

I could go on with more examples. So I will.

And I could keep going on, because Collings has been extremely active in writing about telecoms revenue assurance in Africa since at least 2016, even if you would not guess that articles with such an exotic array of titles always prove to be about revenue assurance. There are many more examples of Collings’ writing, but they all offer a remarkably similar argument, no matter which African country it is applied to. That argument is: telcos cannot be trusted to provide accurate information or to fight fraud, leading to a lot of money being lost, so wise governments purchase the services of Global Voice Group (GVG) to generate a revenue windfall that can be spent on social priorities.

Whatever job you do – fraud prevention, business assurance, risk management – it is safe to assume that if you work for an African telco then Collings will insinuate that you are a liar or an incompetent (or both). She routinely argues that every kind of problem would be solved if telco risk and assurance practitioners were sidelined so GVG can identify all the frauds and mistakes that everyone else is incapable of doing anything about.

Do you think I exaggerate? Here are Collings’ arguments in her own words:

While MNOs have introduced infrastructure to enable higher-quality communications, one must question whether the profits generated by these international companies adequately benefit the countries, and ultimately the citizens, in which they operate… The only way to introduce fairness, accuracy, and completeness into the MNO ecosystem, is by empowering governments with technologies that can remain current in a dynamic sector. In addition to employing expert auditors from the likes of Deloitte, KPMG, and EY, governments also need independent telecom sector experts that have the capabilities to monitor the business and technology practices of MNOs objectively… Notably on Deloitte’s list for its contribution to regulatory compliance and transaction monitoring in Africa is Global Voice Group (GVG).

Accurate data has enabled [Rwanda] to make enormous progress in the communications sector: extending Internet accessibility, improving infrastructure, and integrating ICTs, as well as prioritising e-Health and digital literacy initiatives – and the Rwandan government hopes to achieve 80% financial inclusion for the Rwandan people by 2017. These are no insignificant achievements. The successes Rwanda has achieved have come largely as a result of accurate data from a collaborative effort between the country and ICT partners like Global Voice Group.

Like most African countries, Zimbabwe still relies on a self-declaratory system to oversee the telecoms sector. However, this leaves loopholes – encouraging scams and fraudulent activities and robbing the country of a vital revenue stream… There is only one reliable and effective way to achieve proper telecom metrics that meet the challenges and requirements of the current digital eco-system. This is best done through a proactive technology-based revenue-assurance solution. Which enables both the operators and regulatory authorities to optimise revenues from the telecom sector, because it is able to control revenue leakage, reduce fraud on international calls and control the network quality and integrity.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for African governments to pursue rapid digital transformation… In late 2020, Potraz [Zimbabwe’s comms regulator] announced that it had signed a deal with a leading telco regulatory technology firm, Global Voice Group (GVG). The benefits of TTMS is increased revenue assurance, combatting network fraud and enforce billing integrity [sic] across all communication networks available in the country. This capability is important because it has long been known that Africa’s telco regulators have been challenged by the self-declaratory system.

[Kenyan] operators continue to find fault with the tools they currently have available for measurement… The successes Rwanda has acheived [sic] come largely as a result of accurate data from the collaborative effort between the country and ICT partners like Global Voice Group.

Access to knowledge, information and technology will play an increasingly important role in the more efficient delivery of services, in entrepreneurship and the creation of small businesses in emerging countries… The Rwanda Utility Regulatory Agency (RURA) is using the International Gateway Traffic Verification System (IGTVS), a joint initiative between RURA and Global Voice Group (GVG) which allows the RURA to audit and monitor the Rwandan networks independently and transparently… While there will always be some leaders that are more visionary than others, Rwanda is leading the pack when it comes to harnessing its ICT sector.

Telecommunications is one of the areas that face complaints because the operators make billions but pay small amounts of tax. In fact they even boast about it… Tanzania has catapulted itself into the forefront of modern telecommunications by installing sophisticated and efficient systems to monitor its telecommunications sector. Its bold move will surely pay off in the future.

All of these quotes are taken from different articles by Angela Collings, and she has written many more articles like these. Most of the articles follow a standard format:

  • Lure readers by beginning with an emotive and serious problem, such as hyperinflation, coronavirus, inequality, financial exclusion, reliance on foreign aid, poverty etc.
  • State that the problem can be solved by the government making better use of technology.
  • State or imply that international businesses like telcos cheat their taxes and encourage fraud.
  • Cite GVG as a technology provider that the government needs to work with.

It seemingly is not enough for GVG to persuade African governments to buy their services at inflated prices. They also feel it necessary to spread this incessant and deceitful propaganda month after month, year after year, even after they have won their monopolistic contracts. Their message is not subtle: Angela Collings could use different names to hide the reality of what she is doing. Collings is so arrogant that she actually wants to be identified as the source of these copy-paste advertorials that masquerade as serious analysis on how to use technology to improve the lives of ordinary Africans. Just look at the comically slapdash photograph that was published alongside her work! Then think of the arrogance of a white South African ‘communications specialist’ (in other words, a hack who will write anything for money) routinely complaining that telecoms professionals across Africa cannot be trusted to provide accurate information. Consider how much she has likely been paid to write this junk, and where that money ultimately comes from.

Some people will take from anyone and everyone to enrich themselves. That makes them dangerous. If you think I exaggerate, consider these words from yet another Angela Collings article.

Laurent Lamothe, the former Prime Minister of Haiti [and founder of GVG] is strong advocate [sic] of Innovative Financing for Development… Innovative Financing for Development consists of examining the different private sector industries: travel and tourism, energy, mining and minerals, mobile telecommunications and other economic activities and levying a micro-contribution on transactions related to these globalised sectors.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.