Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Report of the EU-AU Digital Economy Task Force

13 June 2019. Bucharest, Romania. The 8th edition of the Digital Assembly took place in Bucharest, Romania. The event, co-organised by the Commission and the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, brought together representatives of EU Member States with stakeholders from industry, academia and civil society.

Discussions focused on what is needed to accelerate the digital transformation and ensure that the EU remains globally competitive. Three key initiatives were featured: 
  1. A joint declaration by several Member States to work together to build a quantum communication infrastructure (QCI); 
  2. The adoption of the final report by the European Union – African Union Digital Economy Task Force with policy recommendations and concrete actions to strengthen cooperation on digital issues between the two continents;
    The DETF is one of the task forces established as part of the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs launched by President Juncker in his 2018 State of the Union Address. For more information about the report see here
  3. A new investment facility to scale up digital start-ups in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe.
The European Union-African Union Digital Economy Task Force (EU-AU DETF) provides a platform of partnership for the private sector, donors, international organisations, financial institutions and civil society based on a shared understanding of how an already fast evolving African digital transformation can achieve cross-border integration, and bring benefits to all citizens. During 6 months, the EU-AU DETF developed a shared vision, a set of common agreed principles and a list of policy recommendations and actions focusing on four main objectives.  

In the report, African and European experts propose a series of policy recommendations and concrete actions to develop the digital economy and society on the African continent.

The DETF draws policy recommendations and proposes concrete actions to address the principal barriers faced by the African continent as it seeks to develop the digital economy and society. For this purpose, the DETF set out four main goals also identified as priorities in the EU’s Digital4development policy:
  1. Accelerating universal access to affordable broadband.
  2. Guaranteeing essential skills for all to enable citizens to thrive in the digital age.
  3. Improving the business environment and facilitating access to finance and business support services to boost digitally enabled entrepreneurship.
  4. Accelerating the adoption of eServices and the further development of the digital economy for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
"Technology-related productivity gains in crucial sectors (i.e. financial services, education, health, retail, agriculture, and government) in Africa are predicted to reach between US$ 148bn and US$ 318bn by 2025" (pages 7)
"Virtual reality can increase access of youths in remote areas to quality Vocational and Educational Training (VET); smallholder agriculture can benefit from market information and early warning systems"(pages 7)
The report was adopted today by European Commissioners Mariya Gabriel and Neven Mimica, and Minister of Communications of Ghana, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, at the Digital Assembly in Bucharest. A preliminary version of the report was presented in May.

Digital Economy Task Force Members
  • Ms Janet Bih, Founder of Tassah Academy, Cameroon
  • Ms Doreen Bogdan, ITU
  • H.R.H. Princess Abzeita Djigma, Chair of the H.R.H. Princess Abze Djigma Foundation, Special Envoy of the President of Burkina Faso, Resource Mobilisation for SDG's and Climate Change
  • Mr Jérémy Doutté, Co-CEO E-commerce, Jumia Group, Nigeria
  • Mr Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, Managing Director Commercial Bank CIB of Egypt
  • Mr Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President, European Investment Bank
  • Ms Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC)
  • Mr Mats Granryd, Dir Gen of GSMA / London
  • Ms Boutheina Guermazi, Director for Digital Development, World Bank
  • H.E. Ibrahima Guimba Saidou, Special Adviser to the President of the Republic of Niger, Director General / CEO of the National Agency for the Information Society (ANSI)
  • Mr Marek Helm, Vice-President for GCC and Middle East , Nortal
  • Ms Christine Leurquin, Vice-President, Institutional Relations and Communications at SES S.A.
  • Mr Anouar Maarouf, Minister of Communication and Technology, Tunisia
  • Mr Bruno Mettling, President, Orange Middle East and Africa
  • Mr Günter Nooke, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
  • Mr Jean Philbert Nsengimana, Honorary Chairperson, Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI), Rwanda
  • Mr Michael Pittelkow, General Manager, Public Services, Africa, SAP
  • Mr Siim Sikkut, Government CIO, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia
  • Mr Jon Stever, Co-Founder & Managing Director of Impact hub Kigali, Rwanda
  • Mr Lacina Kone, Smart Africa
  • Mr Marc Vancoppenolle, VP & Global Head of Government Relations, Nokia
  • Mr Jasper Westerink, CEO, Philips Africa
  • Mr Jean Van Wetter, Director General, Enabel
Related PAEPARD blogpost
12-13 June 2019. The Digital Agriculture Transformation Seminar #aginnovation
aims to foster an exchange among stakeholders(policy-makers, development partners, UN system, public and private sector, research and academia).

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