Technology in West African economy

March 03, 2021 | by: David Kodjani

The Africa Development Dynamics Report 2021 edition focuses on the potential of digital transformation to create quality jobs and achieve Agenda 2063, in order to strengthen the resilience of African economies in the face of the global recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report targets four types of public action to support Africa's digital transformation:

  1. reducing the digital divide
  2. support local innovation
  3. energize self-employed workers
  4. and accelerate the harmonization, implementation and monitoring of digital strategies

It is a fact, African governments now know that digital technology must be on their side for sustainable economic development. The Internet is an essential part of the digitalization of industry, achieving unprecedented levels of efficiency, productivity and job creation in all economic sectors. However, taking advantage of digitization in all countries of the world, and in those of West Africa in particular, comes from a set of policies and commitments aimed in particular at building infrastructure and developing digital skills, within the framework of regulations and partnerships adapted to local specificities.

In West Africa, the breathtaking spread of the Internet is the result of a flowering of operators in the mobile communication value chain, generating many jobs, especially in the niche of electronic transactions. As the digital revolution transforms the region, states are facing new challenges. This is the whole issue of regulation in West Africa. The establishment of "e-regulation", for the facilitation of business in all member countries which have in common a single currency, the CFA Franc. The importance of regulation as an accelerator of the development of the digital economy was also highlighted by Nkemdilim Begho, founder and general manager of Future software resources. If state and regional policies fail to keep pace with changing needs, they risk slowing innovation and depriving people of the benefits of technological progress.

Digital is today a source of opportunities because more than 13% of international trade is generated by the digital economy. Faced with this new situation, it turns out that many Africans are not banked. In this context, the role of International Trade should be to help young people and women to integrate into the economic fabric, using digital financial services as a complement to traditional financial services. And one of the main elements to this success is the regulation of the sector.

It should be noted that the development of the digital economy in West Africa for job creation and sustainable development also requires investments in the construction of infrastructure and the training of human capital.

Digital is now anchored or at least partially in the habits of West Africans. In Nigeria, things are changing dramatically. Mobile payments operator Paga has more than 7 million users, mainly used to transfer money and pay bills. More than 2.4 billion dollars have already been exchanged through the platform. All West African countries now have their own mobile payment method. Topping the list is Orange Money, which is available in virtually every state in the region. Mobicash available in Mali and Burkina, Cash from Ghana, TMoney and Flooz only available in Togo.

Interest is growing, investments are increasing and several successes clearly show the impact of digitization on the economy of West Africa.

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