The Smart Africa Alliance (SA) and Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to advance the digital transformation of the continent and seek collaborative ways to accelerate the digital development and achieve social prosperity and growth of the digital economy in Africa.
DCO and Smart Africa join forces to promote common interests towards digital transformation. The partners will engage in joint activities such as enhancing cross-border data flows, focusing on digital empowerment of women, youth and entrepreneurs and supporting the creation of a favourable business environment for innovation-driven enterprises (IDEs) to grow and thrive.
Exchanging knowledge in governance, strategy development, and initiatives funding will also form part of the common agenda under the MoU which was signed at the sidelines of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) World Telecommunications Development Conference (WTDC), which opened in Kigali on Monday, June 6.
Speaking after the signing, the Director General of Smart Africa, Mr. Lacina Koné said that joining forces with DCO will drive the digital economy on the continent and beyond and address the digital inequalities.
“We are very pleased to combine our efforts with the DCO, a like-minded organization and find avenues where we can collaborate on our common objective to enhance the growth of our digital economies. This MoU will contribute to reinforce the achievement of our vision to create a single digital market in Africa by 2030,”
Koné said that the Covid-19 pandemic proved that digital cooperation is more important today than ever but as mentioned at the WTDC opening, while some 54 percent of the people are connected, another 46 percent remain offline yet in reality they could also be connected if people worked together
“Connectivity is one thing and cooperation is another. We connect better when we cooperate. So, in line with addressing these gaps, it was very important that Smart Africa together with the DCO sign this MoU with the specific actions that we can all work towards achieving those milestones,”
“For example, particularly for us as Africans, as Smart Africa, this MoU will increase a lot to south-south cooperation, specifically with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries,” Kone said, adding that the DCO is a platform that applies an international multi-stakeholder approach which the African continent can tap into in terms of digital cooperation.
He pointed out that the MoU will contribute towards the vision of transforming Africa into a single digital market, reiterating that today you cannot survive if you want to exist alone and you must collaborate with other countries and continents to accelerate digital transformation.
On her part, commenting on this strategic MoU signing, the Secretary General of the DCO, Deemah Alyahya said that collaboration of like-minded organisations and partners will be key in addressing serious inequalities highlighted by global leaders at the 8th WTDC.
“The DCO firmly believes in the power of collaboration with like-minded organizations to enable digital prosperity for all, and I look forward to working with SmartAfrica and the 30 nations it represents to support the organization’s important work in ushering Africa into a knowledge economy,”
“We are very excited to activate our relationship and partnership. The digital economy is very fast in growth. We expected that by 2030, it is going to be more than 25 percent of the global GDP and now we know that by 2030, it is going to be 70 percent of the global GDP,” Alyahya said.
She added that there is a need to harness the opportunity from now by creating the right platforms and the right stimulus business models that will help and support the nations to be able to grow in terms of the digital economy, in order not to be stuck in the wide digital divide.
The DCO is a global multilateral organization founded in November 2020 that aims to enable digital prosperity for all by accelerating the inclusive growth of the digital economy.
It brings together the Ministries of Digital Economy and ICT of ten nations – Bahrain, Djibouti Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Rwanda and Saudi Arabia – that collectively represent nearly US$2 trillion in GDP and a market of over 600 million people, more than 70% of whom are under the age of 35.