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China backs digital migration in Africa

Friday, 27 August 2021 05:33
China backs digital migration in Africa

(Ecofin Agency) - The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the need for countries around the world, especially African countries, to accelerate their digital migration strategies. As Africa is lagging, China agreed to give it a boost.

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Deng Li (pictured) announced on August 24 his country will help Africa achieve its digital transformation. Speaking in Beijing during the China-Africa Internet Development and Cooperation Forum, Deng Li presented the six axes on which the new project will be based. These are:

  • strengthening the digital infrastructure to unclog the information artery of economic and social development
  • growing the digital economy to promote integrated development of digital technologies and the real economy
  • promoting digital education to overcome the "talent bottleneck" that constrains digital innovation
  • promoting digital inclusiveness to benefit the wider African public
  • jointly upholding digital security and enhancing digital governance capacity
  • building cooperation platforms to promote digital progress through exchanges

The new partnership aligns with Chinese President Xi Jinping's desire, expressed last year at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against Covid-19, to work with the continent to expand cooperation on the digital economy, the smart city, and 5G.  Those are sectors in which Africa really needs a hand. According to the latest Cisco report on the global level of digital readiness, African countries are lagging.

In their joint report "e-Conomy Africa 2020" published last year, Google and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimate that digital economy could contribute up to $180 billion to the African economy by 2025. This depends on the level of digital technology use by businesses and the right mix of policy actions.

Muriel Edjo





 
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