President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde delivering a speech at the High-Level Forum Africa-Europe held in Vienna. December 18, 2018. TV screenshot
CAIRO - 18 December 2018: African leaders, European business personnel, and international officials delivered speeches at the opening of the High-Level Forum Africa-Europe held in Vienna focusing on digital transition in Africa and the potential of the ICT sector in the continent.
African Countries Experience
President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo stated that 20 percent of Africans have internet access. He explained that his country focused on the digital revolution as it developed digital IDs for citizens and developed systems that would enable financial transactions for the purpose of increasing production
Akufo-Addo highlighted that concerted efforts are needed to face cyber crimes which requires cooperation on the international scale. He added that different countries should formulate similar policies that encourage the development of a digital infrastructure, and the empowerment of youth to use technology.
“Digital economy is accelerating which opens the door” for the international economy to participate in economic development, President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde said. However, she highlighted that African countries must contemplate how fast they are keeping pace with that digital development.
Zewde stressed that African countries must have a vision to develop the private sector when comes to digitalization. She said that Ethiopia has established centers for citizens to pay all bills of services provided by governmental institutions.
The Ethiopian government has distributed computers, and introduced the internet service in the countryside. Ethiopia has 60 million mobile phone users, and wants the number to increase in rural areas. Zewde stated that many economic sectors in Ethiopia, including the ICT sector, must be “liberated.”
CAIRO - 18 December 2018: President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi delivered a speech at the High-Level Forum Africa-Europe in Vienna on Tuesday highlighting that the continent has achieved positive sustainable development rates over the past decade despite harsh conditions.
CEO of the World Bank Kristalina Georgieva said that her organization is committed to invest at least $25 billion in addition to an equal amount by the private sector.
“All services in Africa should be digitized,” Georgieva stressed saying, “transitions achieved in Africa are magnificent.”
“Digitalization can be the key to success in Africa,” Georgieva said addressing African women who benefited from the use of mobile phone financial services more than men in the continent, according to a study. Mobile banking has helped in eradicating poverty, the World Bank CEO stated.
The Private Sector
CEO of Siemens Joe Kaeser announced future investments in Africa in the value of €500 million describing the move as “a small start for a big duty.” Kaeser praised Egypt for the development it has so far accomplished in the energy and electricity sectors.
CEO of Vodafone Nick Read stated that his company offers services for 560 million individuals in Africa, and that it connects 100 countries from around the world. Read added that Vodafone offers financial services to low income clients saying that it contributed in the improvement of the economic status of many low-income kenyan households.
Read said that digital infrastructure is necessary for investment, and that there is shortage in digital qualifications. He added that governments should focus on legislations to match international enterprises’ needs, and promote digital skills. Read stated that Vodafone has cooperated with many governments in digital capacity-building of individuals.