30 Oct Digitalising for Development: How countries can embrace technology as a governance tool
KENYA | 23 October 2020
On the 8th of October, the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) and New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) held their first digital event on the side-lines of the United Nations 75th General Assembly.
The theme of the event, which focused on the critical role of digital transformation in Africa in the ‘post COVID-19’ era, brought together professionals and respected officials from all parts of the continent to discuss how to accelerate the application of practical digital solutions at scale to make an impact on jobs and livelihoods.
Amongst other things the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the digital divide in Africa into sharp relief. While, as Cristina Duarte highlighted, it was already accepted that digitalisation is one of Africa’s most powerful tools to promote inclusive development and drive efficiency, the continent remains the least connected at only 23.2%. In what is perhaps the only positive outcome of COVID-19 for Africa, it forced many governments that had been neglecting the positive impact of technology and digitalisation to turn to digital to try and mitigate the health, education, and other crises brought about by the virus.
There is very little disagreement about the advantages of embracing technology as a tool of governance, and it was certainly the case on this panel, with many positive examples to choose from.