Smart Africa Alliance secures $ 1.5 million grant from AfDB to improve e-commerce in Africa
(Ecofin Agency) – With the African Continental Free Trade Area operational since January 1, 2021, African countries have great e-commerce opportunities to exploit. However, they need well-tailored policies to take full advantage of this market..
On December 17, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group approved a $ 1.5 million grant to the Smart Africa Alliance, a group of 32 African countries, international organizations and companies that share the vision of a single digital market on the continent. The money, which comes from the African Development Fund, the AfDB Group’s concessional window, will be used to assess policy gaps in digital ecosystems and e-commerce in ten countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Benin. , Ghana, Liberia, Uganda, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Republic of Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe and Democratic Republic of Congo.
“One of the main challenges preventing the continent from preparing for Africa’s bold new future is the inability to make cross-border payments for goods and services due to a lack of solutions and crippling policies. . Our partnership with the African Development Bank is crucial to create an enabling environment for the promotion of electronic payments, and the digital economy is essential for Africa’s renaissance ”, said Lacina Koné (photo), CEO of Smart Africa.
As part of its mission, the Smart Africa Alliance will consult with public and private sector actors to develop an e-learning program that will directly benefit 600 stakeholders. These include representatives of the government, SMEs and private mobile operators; 2,500 other stakeholders are expected to be indirectly impacted.
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) brings together 1.2 billion people and a GDP of $ 2.5 trillion in the 55 Member States of the African Union. It is presented by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) as a bearer of tremendous opportunities for e-commerce on the continent. But for this prospect to become a reality, the legal framework of each African country must conform to international trade standards. According to Nicholas Williams, the Bank’s Division Manager for ICT Operations, “This project is both timely and vital. For the continent to create a unified digital market by 2030, efforts must focus on harmonizing and building a coherent policy environment for intra-continental trade.