African Governments must invest in indigenous digital solutions and workforce to drive the agenda of transforming the digital space in Africa.
“Africa must be a leader in this revolution with its youthful population who are already strategically positioned to create tailored made digital solutions for Africa’s problems,” Dr Lazarus Chakwere President of Malawi stated at the 11th African Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF 2022) in Lilongwe, Malawi.
The vision for a “digital Africa” can only be realized if we invest in indigenous digital solutions, Dr. Chakwere stated as captured by the Communication for Development and Advocacy Consult (CDA Consult) in Tema.
The forum which was on the theme: “Digital Inclusion and Trust in Africa,” was organized by the government of Malawi in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
The forum brought together high-level officials, dignitaries, and participants drawn from African Union Commission, Member States, UN Organisations, the private sector, academia, and civil society to discuss digitalization.
Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy said “since 2020, digital technologies have proven to be the lifeline that made our communications easy, our work going and businesses functioning.
“We cannot go back as we need to ensure digitalization is deep-rooted in our economies since our ultimate goal is to create a single digital market for a united Africa”.
Dr. Abou-Zeid said Africa is being impacted by the rapidly-changing global economic and political conditions apart from the Pandemic.
She said “I believe what matters the most now are two things: Resilience and Security. I cannot think of any other sectors that can have powerful impacts to foster resilience and address energy security than ‘digitalization’ and ‘energy’ to ensure food and energy security for the future generation”.
She also underlined the need for Africa to devise ways to keep pace with the increasing demand for digital infrastructure, bridge connectivity gaps, especially the urban-rural disparity and address the gender digital divide and create decent jobs for Africa's younger population.
“We have a young population with about 65 percent of working age. We do believe that Africa has all to offer to young people when it is integrated.
"I call upon regional and international partners to invest in the bankable and impactful projects under Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) which packages regional and continental priorities in the energy, transport, and digital sectors,” Dr. Abou-Zeid stated.
The Forum was specifically tailored towards four major thematic areas including, affordable and meaningful access, cybersecurity, privacy and personal data protection, digital skills and human capacity development, and digital infrastructure and was preceded by three events: the School on Internet Governance, the Youth African IGF and a Parliamentarian Symposium.
The African Internet Governance Forum is Africa's multistakeholder forum of Internet actors. Formally launched in Nairobi, during the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in 2011, it carries the voices and efforts of the African continent to the global agenda while ensuring the benefits of a viable information society accrue to every African citizen.