At a recent African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, African Heads of State directed their information and communication technology (ICT) Ministers to develop a common strategic framework for Africa-wide digital priorities and initiatives. In response to this request and consultations with Ministers present in Addis Ababa, ITU hosted a special meeting of ICT Ministers from across Africa on 29 March at the ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Ministers discussed how to boost ICT development, how to attract and encourage further ICT investment, and how to work together to facilitate new partnership opportunities so that Africa can reap the best benefits of the digital economy.
“The Ministers are at the forefront of building a new, digital Africa that leverages the tremendous potential of digital technologies to improve lives,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao.
The Ministers reviewed inputs submitted by the Ministers themselves and discussed how to build a common strategic framework and roadmap for action and coordination.
The meeting took into account proposals on key areas such as: infrastructure, investment, digital transformation (including digital platforms and services), digital skills and entrepreneurship, cybersecurity, a common digital market — and policy and regulatory imperatives that cut across all these areas.
The Ministers wished to continue the discussions in the future.
“I am very pleased with our preliminary outcomes on how to build a framework to work together across the continent,” said Mr Zhao. “I am eager to see this discussion develop, knowing that common frameworks can help overcome the hurdles to investment that can often stifle progress. Let’s work together to make this vision a reality.”