For instance, Africa faces widespread barriers to home internet compared to developed regions (as just 26% of homes have home access, compared with 82% in Europe, according to statistics from the International Telecommunication Union). Digital costs are also much higher in Africa relative to the average income, with 7.12% of the average income required to access 1 GB of mobile data, several times that of developed regions. Africa is also faced with the prospect of reshoring of its labour-intensive industries due to advanced innovation. However, Africa has taken measures to upgrade its advanced industrial infrastructure, most notably through the establishment of innovation ecosystems and digital hubs. This has led to a 50% growth in digital hubs by 2019, with countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt leading the way. Moreover, the mobile revolution has also assisted many digital entrepreneurs to bypass some of the region’s issues with digitalinfrastructure, with over 80% of Africans now owning a mobile phone, and e-commerce startups proliferating across the continent, especially in countries such as Mauritania, Rwanda and Senegal. At the policy level, several measures have also been taken to harness digitalisation for inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, such as the adoption of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which aims to remove barriers to trade throughout Africa, and the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (2020-2030), which aims to build an African Single Digital Market by 2030.


Featured speakers in this Digital Series Session include:

- Teka Gebreyesus, State Minister for Trade and Industry - Ethiopia

- Li Yong, Director General - United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

- Anna Ekeledo, Executive Director - Afrilabs

- Garth Strachan, Former Member, Minister of Science & Technology’s National Advisory Council on Innovation - South Africa

- Dr. Houda Chakiri, Assistant Professor of Computer Science - Al Akhawayn University Ifrane, Morocco