Addis Ababa November 23/2022/ENA/ The African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (ADB) have signed a grant agreement to implement Phase 1 of the Upstream Project for Digital Market Development in Africa.
The AUC Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals, Ambassador Albert M. Muchanga, and the African Development Bank’s Deputy Director General for the East Africa Region, Abdul B. Kamara, signed the agreement on behalf of their institutions.
It was indicated during the occasion that the digital transformation of economies offers new opportunities to increase intra-Africa trade and boost economic growth.
The African Development Bank’s board of directors approved the grant of 9.73 million USD in September this year.
The project supports the AUC’s implementation of digital economy projects to enhance a continental single digital market, according to a statement from the African Development Bank.
It also supports the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa.
The project comes as the backdrop of the Covid-19-induced recession that exposed several gaps in the African digital economy ecosystem. It addresses these gaps.
“Phase 1 runs from 2023 to 2026. It will focus on three main components namely: digital enablers; digital trade and e-commerce adoption; and support actions. Specifically, the project will help strengthen the frameworks (strategic, policy, regulatory and conceptual) and cross-cutting (gender, climate change and resilience) dimensions for the development of Africa’s digital economy,” the statement indicated.
These frameworks are key substrate to guide the establishment of a single digital market across the African continent by 2030.
The project will contribute to the implementation of digital enabler such as universal access to broadband infrastructure, sovereign African cloud, and African digital market among others.
Ambassador Albert M. Muchanga expressed the AUC’s gratitude to the African Development Bank for its support.
He said: “The Covid-19 pandemic underscored the importance of digital technologies and the digital economy as a whole, and in that regard, Africa should think big when it comes to digital development, digital economy and the grand opportunities on integration and economic growth.”
ADB’s Deputy Director General for the East Africa Region, Abdul B. Kamara stated that the project would support the implementation of the Bank’s High 5 priorities as accelerators to achieve Agenda 2063 targets and the continent’s economic transformation to get The Africa We Want.
He added: “It is important to create employment opportunities for millions of young Africans, which is essential for the stability and prosperity of the continent. The digital transformation of economies offers new opportunities to increase intra-Africa trade and boost economic growth.”