CIPESA and WBA to Host Roundtable on Digital Inclusion in Africa

Roundtable Meeting |

In 2020, four of Africa’s leading digital companies (SafaricomJumiaMTN, and Naspers) were ranked and scored on digital inclusion by World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA)‘s Digital Inclusion Benchmark. These companies as well as the other benchmarked companies have business footprints in more than 30 countries in Africa.

The Digital Inclusion Benchmark results showed that commitment and contribution towards digital inclusion are highly uneven across industries in the digital sector. Clear and consistent support to improve digital skills is needed, especially for vulnerable and underrepresented groups. There is also an opportunity for companies to help bridge the gender digital divide, through initiatives that target skills training for women and girls.

It is for this reason that WBA and The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) are holding a roundtable with stakeholders committed to digital inclusion in the region. We aim for this roundtable to help foster coordinated multi-stakeholder actions that encourage a race to the top on digital inclusion and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the digital divide in Sub-Saharan Africa. More people require internet access and intermediate skills to work remotely due to the measures put in place to manage COVID-19.

According to a 2020 report by Global System for Mobile Communications Associations (GSMA) on Mobile Internet Connectivity, mobile internet adoption stood at 26% in sub-Saharan Africa at the end of 2019. The region accounts for almost half of the global population not covered by a mobile broadband network. 3G internet coverage stood at 75% while 4G coverage was at only 49%, according to GSMA. The gender gap and a rural-urban gap in mobile internet stand at 37% and 60%, respectively. The lack of digital literacy skills, especially for women and rural populations, is the biggest barrier to mobile internet adoption, according to GSMA.

Objectives

  • Bring together African multi-stakeholders to foster greater collaboration on digital inclusion.
  • Share WBA’s Digital Inclusion Benchmark data as a tool for companies, governments, investors and civil society organizations for driving digital development.

Date: 9 June 2021

Time: 15.00 EAT |14.00 CEST | 08.00 EDT

LocationZoom Room

The speakers include:

  • Andrew Rugege – International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Regional Director for Africa
  • Dr. Wairagala Wakabi – Executive Director, CIPESA
  • Philippe-André Rodriguez – Deputy Director of the Center for International Digital Policy, Global Affairs Canada
  • Onica N. Makwakwa – World Wide Web Foundation, Head of Africa, Alliance for Affordable Internet
  • Farid Abasov – Emerging Markets Telecoms Analyst, Fidelity International
  • Benjamin Makai – Senior Manager, Technology for Development, Safaricom PLC

The event will be moderated by the distinguished Waihiga Mwaura, 2018 BBC Komla Dumor Award winner and Special Projects Editor at Citizen TV Kenya.

We invite you to register for the event