DIGITAL AFRICA (Afrique Digitale)
The President of ADNE, Mrs. Marie Chantal Uwitonze highlighted the potential of Tech for a Successful 2030 Development Agenda, the role played by the Diaspora in the development of Tech in Africa and what Development partners such as the European Union can do to leverage the benefits of the Tech to Development.
New Technologies and SDGs
ICT is indeed a game-changer for every SDG- from goal 1 to goal 17, ICT can speed up the success SDGs. Best practices abound about the utilisation of New Technologies to facilitate the access to Public Services.
In Rwanda, Health, Education and Transport Sectors are being revolutionized by the Tech. For instance, the first medical supply by drones was launched in Rwanda. The drones will be used to deliver blood, plasma, and coagulants to hospitals across rural western Rwanda, helping to cut waiting times from hours to minutes.
In Nigeria, the FindAMed App, an Application developped by a Diaspora Member allows users to find the closest health centre. The app also stores your basic health information in case of an emergency.
In Kenya, the M-Farm, an SMS-based service enables farmers to get the prices of crops from the whole country.
Diaspora and Digital Africa
ICT facilitates the transfer of knowledge, technology and funds from the Diaspora to Africa:
The existence of new technology avoids the radical break between the diaspora and the countries of origin.The members of the diaspora remain connected with their families thanks to internet and social medias- facebook, whatsapp, twitter etc.
There is an enormous Tech skills potential from the African Diaspora. Many Diaspora Members have created business the Tech and Infrastructure sectors: the Malian diaspora has financed 60% of Mali’s infrastructure over 10 years by investing approximately EUR 3 million.
ADNE is developing the African Diaspora Skills database whose objectives are mapping skills available in all key areas; mapping sectors with high growth potential; guiding companies and administrations for recruitment needs (Skills dispatching), strengthening the Capacity building in Africa.
It is clear that Africa is the ELDORADO for Tech investors and the Digitalisation of Africa will boast African economies transformation. Knowing the skills available in the Diaspora will help Governements and Companies to call up on Diaspora expertise.
European Union’s Development Cooperation and Digital Africa
European Union is the 1st Aid donor to Africa. However Digital technology is an important part of EU development policy. The EU contributes with EUR32 billion a year for development out of which only EUR 150 million are connected to Tech projects.
It is important that every development project includes a digital component which will bring innovation and effeciency. According to MacKinsey Report published in 2013, by 2025, Africa’s iGDP should grow to at least 5 to 6 percent, matching that of leading economies such as Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. However, if the Internet achieves the same kind of scale and impact as the spread of mobile phones in Africa, iGDP could account for as much as 10 percent, or $300 billion, of total GDP while producing a leap forward in economic and social development.
Fostering ownership of African Digital Agenda
In order to leverage the benefits of Tech to Development, it is essential to:
- Put in place appropriate regulatory frameworks to attract investment in the Tech sector and promote citizens’ access to digital tools;
- Build the foundations for the Digital Development: in many areas of Africa, the most urgent need is not to log on the Internet; there are still areas where security, access to water, electricity, food, health care, education are not guaranteed;
- Invest in sustainable infrastructures.
Panelists were Mrs. Marie Chantal Uwitonze, ADNE President, Mr. Verone Mankou, the creator of the 1st African Tablets and Smartphones and Mr. Etienne Giros, President of the CIAN- an Advisory Firm for Investments in Africa. The debate was moderated by Etienne Gernelle, Director of Le Point Magazine.