In a world where technology seems to be pervading every facet of life, businesses that refuse to incorporate digitalization in their business models will create a gap with dire consequences for their survivability with the AFCFTA.
This is according to the Minister for Communications and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful.
In a speech read on her behalf at the maiden edition of the Africa Digital Forum, Deputy Minister for Communications and Digitalisation, Ms. Ama Pomaa Boateng called for intensified collaborative efforts to create opportunities for home-grown start-ups in the space, to create value and wealth and establish strategic alliances within the Trade Zone to take full advantage of these opportunities beyond digitalization.
“It is noted with concern that the AfCFTA presents both a great challenge and an opportunity for all African countries from a digital standpoint. AFCFTA is a 3.4 trillion billion dollars economic block that includes one point 1.3 billion people and is expected to become the world’s largest free trade zone. As the trade block passes its first few months, concern has been raised that African nations may not reap the greatest benefit if nothing is done as soon as possible.
More importantly beyond digitalisation, we need to systematically create opportunities for home grown start-ups in the space to create value and wealth for our people. Indeed we have to establish strategic alliances within the trade zone in order not to fail to take full advantages of these opportunities,” she said.
Director-General of the Ghana Standards Authority, Prof Alex Dodoo, in a presentation on “E-Commerce, Cross-Border Trade Protocols & Standardization Under AfCFTA reiterated the need to develop global standards for e-Commerce as AfCFTA offers the tech sector in Africa to take leadership in the development and deployment of these global standards.
“We are talking about IT, digital transformation, job creation. And with AFCFTA here, and with Ghana hosting the secretariat, its good to contextualise it and see how we can get value for it. E-commerce within the African continental free trade area has to be governed by standards. The space is moving so fast that globally there are no standards. This is an opportunity for Africa.
The discussions have started, so we are at the right place at the right time. And if we do not shape the discussions, will be consumers of the thoughts, processes and ideas of other nations. So this requires a lot of investments. You know globally whether it is the international telecom union, international electro technical communications for electricity or standards agencies,” he said.
The maiden edition of the Africa Digital Forum organised by AIDEC Consultancies International Ltdsought to bring key stakeholders in policy, regulation, industry, and academia converge to deliberate on the necessity, challenges, and opportunities of digitalization in fulfilling the potential presented by the continent-wide free trade area. It was held under the theme: ‘The Digital Challenge: Africa’s Opportunity Under AfCFTA’.
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