Invitation for Public Comments on Building an Enabling Environment for Inclusive Digital Transformation in Africa: Roadmap To Reform

Call for Comments |

The 2018 introduction of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) marked an opportune time to advance dialogue and consensus on how to shape and govern the digital economy on the continent to promote greater regional cohesion, development, and competitiveness.

AfCFTA came into force on May 30, 2019 and has the goal of establishing a free trade area among all 55 member states of the African Union, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than US$3.4 trillion. Recognition of the role that emerging trends in digital transformation can and should play is a crucial part in the realisation of AfCTA.

The digital economy, including cross-border services, digital trade, and electronic commerce (eCommerce), contributes to democratic and economic development by expanding market access for local businesses, promoting inclusive trade, creating jobs, and expanding tax revenue for governments to provide essential services. As the scope of digital innovation expands around the globe, so must appropriate considerations for national and regional policies and regulations needed to facilitate greater economic competitiveness and inclusiveness while respecting human rights and online freedom.

Harnessing opportunities and limiting barriers to equitable participation in the digital economy have become even more important, as the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has resulted in online global data traffic rising by 20 percent . As people are continuing to rely on digital platforms and services more than ever before, it is crucial for diverse stakeholders including local business communities, civil society, media organizations, and government to actively participate in multi-stakeholder discussions on the development and implementation of legislation and frameworks that impact the digital economy.

As part of the 2019 edition of the Forum on Internet Freedom in Africa (FIFAfrica, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) convened over 35 stakeholders representing the local private sector, civil society, media organizations, and government to identify regional opportunities that can positively shape Africa’s digital transformation.  This regional policy dialogue formed the basis of this Roadmap to Reform which we now invite external contributions and comments on.

This Roadmap to Reform of Africa’s digital economy is divided into three parts. Part one highlights the findings from engagements held at FIFAfrica19 on the various opportunities and challenges related to digital transformation in Africa.  This dialogue brought together representatives from chambers of commerce, civil society, media organizations, and government across over ten African countries. Part two explores multi-stakeholder approaches to capitalizing on digital transformation opportunities in Africa. Finally, part three presents a series of case studies that illustrate the ways in which advocacy and multi-stakeholder engagement can advance the digital economy in Africa.

Submit your comments to the document: Building an Enabling Environment for Inclusive Digital Transformation in Africa: Roadmap To Reform by September 21, 2020.