African connection

Zimbabwe: Transform Africa IT Summit kicks off with $1.5m project to enhance digital trade

By Laura Angela Bagnetto

Posted on April 26, 2023 12:09

 © The Smart Africa Summit in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, is being held at the Elephant Hills Resort from April 26-28, 2023
The Smart Africa Summit in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, is being held at the Elephant Hills Resort from April 26-28, 2023

The African Development and Smart Africa Alliance have launched a $1.5m project to enhance digital trade and e-commerce ecosystems across the continent. Six presidents were in attendance during the ceremony that took place at the Transform Africa IT Summit in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean Vice President Constantino Chiwenga introduced Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa, Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi), Faure Gnassingbé (Togo), Hakainde Hichilema (Zambia), and Paul Kagame (Rwanda) to the three-day summit on Wednesday.

The special project will create harmonised e-payment policies across 10 countries to enhance digital trade and encourage e-commerce.

The 10 countries include Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Uganda, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Republic of Congo, DRC, and Sao Tome and Principe.

Cross border e-payments through the Digital Payments and e-Commerce Policies for Cross-Border Trade Project (IDECT) will be facilitated for governments, the private sector and small and medium-sized enterprises.

The use of technology in day-to-day government projects and how investment in digital technology can create more efficient services and encourage economic growth.

“The IDECT project demonstrated our commitment to fostering digital transformation and economic growth in Africa,” says Lacina Koné, CEO of Smart Africa.

Other aspects of the project include creating smaller programmes on the ground to encourage women and youth to enter the e-trade and commerce sector.

“By addressing policy gaps and promoting gender-sensitive training, we are laying the foundation for a thriving digital trade and e-commerce ecosystem.”

Cross-border collaboration

The three-day event includes a number of topics in the IT sphere, including talks on digital public goods (DPG) and their use in education and accelerating Africa’s financial inclusion in the digital economy across borders.

A roundtable for creating digital solutions for climate change will discuss how governments can climate-proof emissions created by the digital sector yet still accelerate digital development.

Using data in Africa without compromising individual privacy will also be discussed. Although data can drive development and economic prosperity, policies need to be implemented to ensure this vital information is ethically used.

Panellists will look into how data governance needs to be a collaborative effort on the continent. Promoting data literacy is another consideration to take into account to make sure that vulnerable groups are not left behind.

Women rule the world

Women are a key part of this conference, with panels on female youth STEM leaders, including a crowning of a ‘Ms. Geek’.

. © Part of the goal of the Smart Africa IT Summit is to encourage women to enter the technology industry.

Female IT ministers from Benin, Ghana, Namibia, Eswatini, who make up part of the Network of Women Digital Ministers will be meeting at the summit. They will discuss their experience and knowledge of working in the digital sector and how they can empower more women to go into IT industries.

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