AUC, AfDB sign $9.73m agreement to drive digital market devt

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The African Union Commission (AUC), and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have signed a grant agreement of 9.73 dollars to drive digital market development in Africa.

In a statement issued on the website of the AfDB on Friday, the agreement was for  implementation of Phase 1 of the Upstream Project for Digital Market Development in Africa.

The signing took place on Thursday at AUC headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Amb. Albert Muchanga, AUC Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals, and Dr Abul Kamara, AfDB’s Deputy Director-General, East Africa Region both signed the agreement.

The AfDB’s Board of Directors approved the grant of seven million Units of Account (9.73 million dollars) in September.

Muchanga, however, expressed the AUC’s gratitude to the AfDB for its support.

“The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of digital technologies and the digital economy as a whole.

“In that regard, Africa should think big when it comes to digital development, digital economy and the grand opportunities on integration and economic growth,” he said.

Moreover, Kamara said the project would support implementation of the AfDB’s High 5 priorities as accelerators to achieving Agenda 2063 targets.

He also said the project would support the continent’s economic transformation to get “The Africa We Want”.

According to him,  it is important to create employment opportunities for millions of young Africans, which is essential for the stability and prosperity of the continent.

“The digital transformation of economies offers new opportunities to increase intra-Africa trade and boost economic growth.”

The project supports the AUC’s implementation of digital economy projects to enhance a continental single digital market.

It also supports the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa.

According to the statement, Phase 1 runs from 2023 to 2026, which would focus on three main components namely: digital enablers; digital trade and e-commerce adoption,  and support actions.

Specifically, the project would also help strengthen the frameworks and cross-cutting (gender, climate change and resilience) dimensions for the development of Africa’s digital economy.

The frameworks are strategic, policy, regulatory and conceptual.

These frameworks are key substrates to guide the establishment of a single digital market across the African continent by 2030.

The project would, therefore, contribute to the implementation of digital enablers, e-commerce and digital trade promotion programmes for medium, small and micro enterprises and start-ups.

Furthermore, It would also help to create a conducive ecosystem for digital trust, skills and African experts’ networks.