African nations must step up their adaptation of digital technology and invest in comprehensive digital infrastructure, services, skills, and entrepreneurship, said Amujae Leader Dr. Yakama Manty Jones.
While organizations across multiple sectors have begun to adopt technology at a faster pace due to the impacts of COVID-19, many African governments have been slow to truly implement digital systems, Dr. Jones said at a roundtable discussion on “The Digital Public Sector for Digital Ecosystem: Current Trends and Status.”
During the session, hosted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Dr. Jones urged African governments to turn more focus towards building data systems and training public servants on digital skills and tools:
“ must not overlook the importance of high-frequency macro and microdata for monitoring of economic stability, understanding trade and consumption patterns, and gaining deeper insights on the impact and progress of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) implementation across countries.”
Dr. Jones, who is also the Director of Research and Delivery at the Ministry of Finance in Sierra Leone, added that African countries should develop standardized ways of using data to measure economic transformation across the continent. The African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa (2020-2030) presents a solid plan for harnessing innovation to generate inclusive growth and reduce the digital divide, she said.
African countries must work to expand the use of digital technologies from beyond the finance, health, education, retail, agriculture, and telecommunications sectors, Dr. Jones concluded. By embracing digital technology, governments could significantly improve upon how they measure progress and ensure that it continues.