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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

EU: ''Digital technologies provide fertile ground for Africa''

EU Commissioner Mariya Gabriel says Europe is dedicated to helping Africa build a single digital market, so that e-commerce can pave the way to better jobs and greater equality on the continent. Mindful of its own experience in building a single digital market, the European Union is dedicated to helping Africa do likewise and help unleash the transformative power of e-commerce on the continent, the EU’s digital economy and society commissioner, Mariya Gabriel, has said on the opening day of UNCTAD’s E-Commerce Week in Geneva. Information and communications technologies (ICTs) have boosted economic development worldwide, with estimates showing that, for example, a 10% increase in internet access gives a 1.2% push to per capita gross domestic product (GDP). Getting more people affordable and reliable connections in Africa, where broadband penetration is as low as 16% in some parts of the continent, is therefore key to growing the economy and fighting poverty. Better connectivity will also be an important step to increasing the ICT sector’s contribution to Africa’s GDP, which currently stands at just 5%. The African Union aims to triple this figure by 2040. “As we all know, the digital revolution has changed the way we manufacture goods, provide services, buy products, obtain information and interact with each other,” Ms. Gabriel told a packed room in the Palais des Nations, the UN’s European Headquarters. “Creating a single digital market was the EU’s response to the challenges posed by the digital transformation in our society and in our economies,” she said. “However, as you know, the digital revolution doesn’t stop at the borders of the EU. Our expertise and our experience can be put to the benefit of development cooperation between the EU and Africa,” Ms. Gabriel said, adding that the digital economy was identified as a priority during the November 2017 European Union-African Union Summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

Source: unctad