Africa’s restrictive policies and practices continue to impede the growth of the digital economy, as well as the associated socio-economic benefits across the continent. This is one of the key takeaways from a white paper released yesterday by the Vodacom Group in partnership with AUDA-NEPAD, titled “Enabling Digital and Data Services Policy Frameworks for Increased Economic Growth and Development – A Focus on the SADC Region.”
The paper points out that one of the keys to unlocking Africa’s digital economic growth, and the resulting digital financial inclusion, is to create an enabling regulatory environment that supports the secure flow of data across jurisdictions. Vodacom is one of Africa’s leading connectivity, digital and financial services companies. From its roots in South Africa, it has grown to include operations in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Lesotho and Kenya.
Vodacom Group and AUDA-NEPAD propose a regional approach, enabled by collaborative cross-border data sharing, to enable “near real-time visibility into the flow of food and essential goods at the global and local levels.” To build a sustainable digital economy, the organizations say policymakers should prioritize the secure and easily facilitated flow of cross-border data through an enabling regulatory environment. However, they note that many AU member states do not yet facilitate this flow.