According to a report released by the World Bank on Monday, African countries must increase their adoption of digital technologies to speed up economic growth and generate better employment opportunities for the youth. The report, titled “Digital Africa: Technological Transformation for Jobs,” argues that sustained efforts to bridge the digital divide in Africa are critical in order to leapfrog the continent to a new phase of growth and renewal.
Andrew Dabalen, the World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa, stated that rapid digitization will enable Africa to harness the full potential of its youth and achieve quality and inclusive economic growth. The report suggests that Africa must boost the uptake of digital technologies to create opportunities for more than 22 million people in the continent to join the workforce annually, as the continent is projected to have the largest share of the global workforce by 2100.
The report highlights that internet usage varies across the continent, ranging from a low of 6% in South Sudan to 53% in South Africa, indicating a need for rapid investments, policy reforms, and training to bridge the digital divide across the continent. The World Bank stated that digital technologies and innovations will be essential to modernizing key sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, and financial services in Africa, calling for concerted efforts to bridge the digital divide, which affects rural poor communities and start-ups led by women and youth.
In conclusion, the report emphasizes the importance of digital technologies in driving growth in Africa, stating that the potential for digital technologies to transform African economies is vast. However, it is essential to ensure that digital transformation is inclusive and benefits all members of society. This can be achieved through public and private sector partnerships, investment in digital infrastructure, and policies that promote innovation and digital skills development.
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