AfDB Grants $9.7mln to African Union’s Push for Digital Market Devt

ADDIS ABABA – The African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have signed a grant agreement to implement Phase 1 of the Upstream Project for Digital Market Development in Africa.

The signing ceremony took place on November 17 at AUC Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The AfDB’s directors approved the grant of $9.73 million last September to support AUC’s implementation of the digital economy project aiming to enhance a continental single digital market.

The project also supports the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa.

It will focus on three main components namely: digital enablers; digital trade and e-commerce adoption; and support actions.

The project comes as the backdrop of the Covid-19-induced recession that exposed several gaps in the African digital economy ecosystem.

“The Covid-19 pandemic underscored the importance of digital technologies and the digital economy as a whole,” said Ambassador Albert M. Muchanga, AUC Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry, and Minerals.

“In that regard,” Muchanga said, “Africa should think big when it comes to digital development, digital economy, and the grand opportunities on integration and economic growth.”

AfDB officials say the project would support the implementation of the Bank’s High 5 priorities as accelerators to achieve Agenda 2063 targets and the continent’s economic transformation to get The Africa We Want.

“It is important to create employment opportunities for millions of young Africans, which is essential for the stability and prosperity of the continent,” said Abul B. Kamara, AfDB Deputy Director General for the East Africa Region.

“The digital transformation of economies offers new opportunities to increase intra-Africa trade and boost economic growth,” he added.

Featured Image Caption: Abdul Kamara, AfDB Deputy Director-General for East Africa Region (L) and AUC Commissioner Dr. Albert Muchanga [Photo AfDB]