AfDB taps Google for digital transformation in Africa

Today, the African Development Bank and Google formally established their partnership to advance Africa’s digital transformation. During the Global Africa Business Initiative during the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the parties exchanged a Letter of Intent.

The deal highlights a shared commitment to develop the continent’s talent and skills, expand and improve infrastructure, and use emerging technology.

Both sides have a track record of promoting digital development. The African Development Bank has put $1.9 billion into projects over the last ten years that emphasise the growth of broadband infrastructure, favourable legislative and regulatory frameworks, digital skills, and cutting-edge technology firms.

According Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank., transition from a 2% telephony penetration in 1998 to the 4G, 5G, and AI eras today represents enormous development. The priority is to catalyse enterprises to create jobs and provide creative solutions because 70% of sub-Saharan Africans are under the age of 30.

Google has long supported the development of the digital economy in Africa. Google made an investment in the Seacom cable, a significant submarine telecommunications line, in 2005. Since then, Google has made a commitment to the digital transformation of the continent by assisting with talent development, innovation, infrastructure development, and regulatory changes.

In collaboration with the African Development Bank, Google will provide technical support to help entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized firms by helping them digitise their operations, secure financing, master digital marketing, and advance the development of the private sector.

The most significant revolution is still to come with regard to cutting-edge technologies like AI, according to Dr. James Manyika, Senior Vice President of Research, Technology, and Society at Google.

If Africa wants to take advantage of this chance, create for everyone, and make sure no one is left behind, cooperation will be crucial. In order to fulfil this common goal, we are eager to partner with the African Development Bank.

The governor of Banco Central do Brasil, Brazil’s central bank, stated that the bank has observed a considerable increase in the adoption of cryptocurrencies in the nation and plans to respond by strengthening the regulation of digital assets.

On September 27, Roberto Campos Neto remarked on the development of “cryptocurrency imports” by Brazilians in his testimony to the parliamentary Finance and Taxation Commission. Data from the central bank shows that during January to August 2023, imports of cryptocurrencies increased 44.2% over the same period in 2022. About 35.9 billion Brazilian reals ($7.4 billion) in total were raised.

Separately, Campos Neto highlighted the acceptance of stablecoins, which, in his opinion, are utilised more for payments than investments. According to him, the bank would tighten regulations in response to these trends and put cryptocurrency sites under its control. He stated that tax evasion and illegal activity could be issues associated to cryptocurrency:

In June 2023, Brazil assigned the central bank the primary responsibility for crypto regulation. The Comisso de Valores Mobiliários, Brazil’s version of the Securities and Exchange Commission, continues to have jurisdiction over token initiatives that are considered securities.

The Brazilian central bank is also developing Drex, a proprietary digital currency. It unveiled the name and logo of the central bank’s digital currency in August. A central authority might apparently use the Drex code to freeze funds or lower balances, according to claims made in a prior controversy by Brazilian blockchain developer Pedro Magalhes.

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