African Leaders Urged to Prioritize Digital Transformation

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Addis Ababa September 1/2020 (ENA) African leaders need to think digital always, especially now as the continent continues to grapple with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, participants attending the African World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Implementation Meeting on COVID-19 urged. 

The participants stated that building a digital future is crucial if the continent is to become globally competitive, survive and claim the 21st century, according to a press release issued on Monday by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).  

They have also underlined the need for African countries to implement the African Union Commission’s comprehensive Digital Transformation Strategy.

The main objective of the strategy is to serve as a frame of reference in order to achieve the common vision of creating an integrated and inclusive digital society and economy in Africa, it was indicated. 

The strategy builds on existing initiatives and frameworks such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) to support the development of a Digital Single Market (DSM) for Africa, the press release added.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Regional Director for Africa, Andrew Rugege, said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown the practicality of an information society in combating not only this but other pandemic and crises as well.

“Organizations, governments, private sector and even individuals are trying to find ways of using ICT to detect, manage and minimize the impact of COVID-19,” he added.

Director of the Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management Division at the ECA, Jean Paul Adam said  ICTs  are crucial  to implement the SDGs however, he underscored that “ We can never meet the 2030 target if we do not urgently address the issue of connectivity across the continent.”