AfDB, AUC sign $9.7m grant deal to drive digital market

The African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have signed a $9.7 million grant agreement to implement Phase one of the upstream project for digital market development in Africa.

The signing ceremony which took place last week at AUC Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was signed by Albert Muchanga, AUC Commissioner for Economic Development, Trade, Tourism, Industry and Minerals and Abul Kamara, African Development Bank’s Deputy Director General for the East Africa Region.

According to a press release by the Bank, 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 and will help to create a conducive ecosystem for digital trust, skills and African experts’ networks.

“The project comes as the backdrop of the COVID-19-induced recession that exposed several gaps in the African digital economy ecosystem. It addresses these gaps,” it said.

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Phase one of the project which will run from 2023 to 2026 will focus on three main components namely: digital enablers; digital trade and e-commerce adoption; and support actions.

Specifically, the project will help strengthen the frameworks (strategic, policy, regulatory and conceptual) and cross-cutting (gender, climate change and resilience) dimensions for the development of Africa’s digital economy.

“The pandemic underscored the importance of digital technologies and the digital economy as a whole, and in that regard, Africa should think big when it comes to digital development, digital economy and the grand opportunities on integration and economic growth,” Muchanga said.

Kamara also said the project would support the implementation of the AfDB’s high five priorities as accelerators to achieve Agenda 2063 targets and the continent’s economic transformation to get The Africa We Want.

“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,” he further said.

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