African Economy Needs Digital Transformation with Adequate Caution: Experts

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ENA,February 16/2020 African economy needs to join the digital transformation, which is estimated to take over 90 percent of the next decade’s global trade, experts said. 

But the experts presage that meticulous preparation and adequate caution is needed in the implementation as digital transformation is disruptive process, which often throws the undeniable risk posed potential cyber-security involvement.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Business Council CEO Sandra Uwera said digital economy is timely and game-changer in many African countries.

Talking about digital economic transformation, she stressed that “the fourth industrial revolution is here and we have been lagging behind in terms of embracing some of the opportunities it provides to Africa.”

Over 560 million populations within the COMESA waiting to trade with each other across 21 member states beyond the larger Africa, Uwera said, and pointed out that “but key challenges that face this particular business community is infrastructure impediments.”

Many African countries produce high quality and sophisticated products within the continental interest, the CEO stated, and added “however, we are not able to get these products to this particular market.”

Furthermore, she described digital transformation for the continent as “very key in terms of bringing the African products into the larger African markets and into the world”.

A lot of regulatory policy that supports mobile payment solutions nationally are being seen in many African countries, she lauded, but criticized that “our payment systems are not integrated at the African and regional level in integrated approach.”

To address the issues, CEO Uwera pointed out that COMESA is trying to work with regulators and governments about bringing in more integrated approach.

According to her, can support Small and Medium Enterprises to get integrated into the digital ecosystem and become very competitive in terms of “pushing their products not just in Africa but also in the international market.”

However, she emphasized the need for comprehensive and collaborative care despite the fact that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has put in place in number of countries to protect businesses and governments against cyber-security attack.

A-e Trade Group CEO, Mulualem Syoum said on his part that African policy makers need to prepare for the digital economy as it will take over 90 percent of the global market in the next 10 years.

He added that the continent needs to have various pertinent legislations and policies to protect cyber-security attacks.

Threat is everywhere either in the digital or traditional business, the CEO mentioned, adding that “however, the A-e Trade Group provides digital capacity building.”

Digital transformation is an opportunity to enhance economic growth and industrialization, alleviate poverty and improve people’s lives. But equally it requires strong management to exploit vulnerabilities and security risks.