An Estonian ICT organisation helps Africa turn digital

The Estonian ICT Cluster and the Smart Africa alliance hosted a virtual workshop on digital economy that attracted participants from 16 African countries.

At the beginning of July, the Estonian ICT Cluster and the Smart Africa alliance hosted a practical workshop series on digital economy policies. The virtual event was followed by more than 60 participants from 16 Smart Africa member states.

The Smart Africa alliance is an innovative commitment from African governments to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development on the continent, “ushering Africa into a knowledge economy through affordable access to broadband and usage of information and communications technologies”. The alliance includes 30 African countries that represent over 700 million people.

In 2018, the Estonian ICT Cluster signed a memorandum of understanding with the Smart Africa, aiming to encourage the technology transformation and knowledge sharing.

The two-day workshop from 2-3 July gave the chance to different African countries and the Estonian public and private sector representatives to share their views towards the digital transformation journey. “Active digital economy is the path that African countries need to take together, and Estonia can be a valuable partner in this journey,” Lacina Koné, the director general of Smart Africa, said in a statement.  

“We established a solid ground for mutual learning by introducing the digitalisation plans of different countries and bringing out the enablers that are needed in order to achieve world class digital societies,” Doris Põld, a manager at the Estonian ICT Cluster, added.

Kenya developed the “digital economy blueprint” for Africa

One of the participants, Maureen Mbaka from the Kenyan ICT ministry, said his country was the champion for digital economy in the Smart Africa alliance and had developed the digital economy blueprint for Africa.

“Countries in Africa can achieve faster economic growth, offer innovative products and services, create jobs and export revenue, achieve greater international competitiveness through enabling policies and investment climate for digital infrastructure, services, skills and entrepreneurship to help develop robust digital economies,” she stated.

The workshop concentrated to the pillars brought out in the digital economy blueprint: digital government, digital business, infrastructure, innovation driven entrepreneurship and digital skills. Each pillar was looked at separately together with practical examples from African countries and from Estonia.

During the discussions, it was emphasised that harmonisation of different policies and strategies was one of the critical elements through which the digital single market of Africa could be achieved and where collaboration between the countries played an important role.

Cover: The Estonian ICT Cluster and the Smart Africa alliance hosted a virtual workshop on digital economy that attracted participants from 16 African countries.

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