Ethiopia Set to Kindle Digital Economy, Says Minister

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June 10/2019 Ethiopia is set to kindle digital economy by going digital vigorously, Innovation and Technology Minister Getahun Mekuria said.
In his opening remark to the 17th Innovation Africa Digital (IAD) Summit under the theme “National Agenda Acceleration” that kicked off here today, Innovation and Technology Minister Getahun Mekuria said Ethiopia is now concerned more than ever about how the 32 million plus boys and girls in school are digitally learning.

“We also want to make the digital means to create jobs to our citizens and wealth to our country,” he pointed out.

The minister added that Ethiopia is very much up for digital and financial inclusion for the country’s more than 100 million population.

Ethiopia is therfore opening up its telecom business for the private sector by undertaking discussions and putting laws on policies for fintechs, e-commerce, and e-payment has become the order of the day.

Echoing Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, he said “we do not afford to be left behind in the fourth industrial revolution.” This can, however, happen if we do not catch up on technological and innovation advancements.  

African Center for Statistics Director at ECA, Oliver Chinganya said on his part “the role of ICT maturity, associated with socio-economic and technological factors, is today without doubt a key factor in the economic and social development of the continent.”

According to him, the digital economy is becoming one of the main drivers of growth in several African countries,  accounting for more than 5 percent of the GDP.

Growth of Africa’s Internet is driven by urbanization, development of the middle class, and high demographic share of youth, he stated, adding that Internet and Internet-related penetration however remain limited in Africa.

With less than 30 percent Africans having access to mobile broadband, the continent is suffering from low mobile broadband, Chinganya noted.

More than 500 participants are taking part in the summit which Ethiopia is hosting for the fourth time.