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Digital Transformation in Africa

The International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) regional development forum for Africa aims to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the continent through digital transformation​. The Forum held a conference in Oct under the theme “Digital transformation for a sustainable and equitable digital future: Accelerating the implementation of the SDGs in Africa through digital transformation​”.​ The aim of the forum is to convert pledges into concrete commitments that will result in the implementation of concrete impactful projects based on the priorities adopted and contained in the Kigali Action Plan. That Plan is a comprehensive package that will promote the equitable and sustainable development of telecommunication/ICT networks and services.

Despite the widespread adoption of mobile phones, smartphone penetration in Africa remains relatively low due to economic, infrastructural, and cultural factors. High smartphone costs and data plans hinder adoption. In 2023, the mobile economy report indicates a 43% penetration rate of unique mobile subscribers and 25% for mobile internet users. Accelerating smartphone adoption and enhancing digital inclusion in Africa involves creating an ecosystem that empowers individuals, businesses, and communities. Ensuring domestically produced smartphones meet global quality standards and offering competitive prices is essential. Incorporating indigenous languages as optional operating languages can make the product more valuable and drive consumer interest and support. The GSMA (Global Association of Mobile Services) issued an excellent report on Ecommerce in Africa  last month which sets out the development of ecommerce and particularly of social commerce, and calls for more government support for digital commerce. Highly recommended –

Alastair Tempest

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