Viewpoint: 4 Ways Digitisation Can Unlock Africa’s Recovery
The full human cost of COVID-19 in Africa is not yet known, but it is likely to be significant. Importantly, for many Africans, the longer-term socio-economic consequences of the pandemic is likely to be just as material as the health impact of the virus itself.
Decades of progress in poverty alleviation are now at risk. A recent report from the UN Secretary General suggests that the global poverty rate is projected to rise for the first time in 30 years pushing as many as a half a billion people into poverty. According to data from the World Bank, Africa will experience its first recession in 25 years.
Whilst there is no silver bullet for Africa’s recovery, we know that investment in digitisation will have to play a part. As the UN Secretary-General said recently about the post-COVID-19 world, “the future will be much more digital than the past.” There are some promising signs of the recognition for broad-based digitisation as one of the key learnings from this crisis. In March 2020, President Kenyatta of Kenya urged the private sector find ways to expand mobile money in order to reduce COVID-19 transmission through cash. As the African Union Commissioner Amani Abou-Zeid has also highlighted: “COVID-19 crisis has become the single biggest catalyst for digital transformation and has moved digitalisation from a niche market into mass adoption”.
Photo courtesy of xresch.