MultiChoice CEO Calvo Mawela on balancing a just climate transition

With the war in Ukraine pushing up food and fuel prices, the world is in a difficult place. Balancing a just climate transition in emerging markets, at this time, is necessary but difficult. Calvo Mawela, the CEO of MultiChoice, shares his views.

Calvo Mawela, the CEO of MultiChoice, on what is transpiring at Davos

The first thing to do is to reflect on the topic that Davos chose for this history at a turning point; the government policies and business strategies. It speaks to where the world is at the moment. The geopolitical tensions, inflation, the economic pressures that consumers are facing, the middle class that is getting hit hard by virtue of prices going up, oil prices going up. We need to take a pause and reflect. What does the future hold for the world? And that is the first thing I believe everybody here at Davos is trying to grapple with. 

On if there is anything to be hopeful about

I think there is hope. The fact that the world is coming together, taking a pause and trying to find a solution to the challenges the world is facing. There is hope. Whether the solution is going to be as quickly as we’d like it to be. Probably not. We still have to go through a little bit of pain. But everybody understands the status quo cannot remain. We need to find a solution to the war in Ukraine. We need to look at inflation and find a way to bring it down. In this way, we can begin to see growth coming through again. Everybody is paying attention to this and we should be able to get solutions with all of the great minds of the world.  

On the issue of climate change and its effects right now

Climate change is a very important topic as well. That is why it’s one of the biggest topics that has been discussed at Davos. I think there are two elements to it. The first thing is that, as we have seen even back home, the floods that have happened, which have not happened in many, many years. We need to pay attention to it and find a way to transition to the clean energy bill. These are the things everybody is trying to grapple with. We know we need to transition to clean energy, but at the same time, as we throw a lot of money into it, inflation also goes up and we need to contain inflation at the same time. So we need to find a balancing act of transitioning as quickly as possible.

On the trends being seen from a media perspective and what role MultiChoice plays in terms of the digital environment

It is fascinating to see and there are a lot of discussions about video consumption. As you know, it’s happening on social media. You see a lot of OTT players coming in and there is currently a big debate about the amount of money and market cap that has gone into social media platforms with advertising under pressure. Are we going to see the types of regulations and the types of market caps we’ve seen in the past, or does there need to be a rebalancing act in that area as well? We have seen all the OTT players coming under pressure, the likes of Netflix, cautioning that it might not see further growth and may actually go backwards. When you see how money flows now, people are beginning to go back to the fundamentals under which businesses need to run. We need to run businesses to make a profit. 

On the biggest takeaway from discussions in Davos

The metaverse is one area I have looked at with keen interest in general and within this conference. I am beginning to pick up that, yes, it has legs to stand on, it has potential. It is an area where I will be digging deep and trying to understand the business models that may work and whether we will be able to, as a business, whether we can do something around that. That is exciting to me.

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