Africa’s internet economy has the potential to leapfrog the continent’s trade and logistics capabilities and become a key global player in food security.

Vera Songwe, the executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (Uneca), estimates that the internet economy in Africa can be easily worth US$180 billion by 2025.

“Following its full implementation, the African Continental Free Trade Area is expected to boost inter-Africa trade in agri-foods by 42%. Essentially, we can feed ourselves and others accordingly.

“In infrastructure, Africa’s internet economy has the potential to reach US$180 billion by 2025, accounting for 5.2% of Africa’s GDP (gross domestic product). This internet economy would be powered by trade,” she said.

The potential of the internet economy’s power was put to the test in Ethiopia and Rwanda last year.

“We worked with the government of Ethiopia and the government of Rwanda last year, to be able to sell coffee, 11 200 bags were sold in one second through the internet, delivering about US$72 000 to small and medium scale [enterprises].

“We know most women in agriculture don’t feed themselves with the food they produce; they feed themselves with the resource from the food they produce,” she said.

According to Uneca, the coffee was sold via Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce platform.

But the Global Cost of Internet Shutdowns 2021 report says disruptions in Sub-Saharan Africa linked to regimes curtailing demonstrations, and a series of crackdowns on opposition and civil society, cost the continent (US$1.93 billion).

Addressing heads of state and government at the 39th session of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), held virtually ahead of the Summit, Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, said the biggest challenge faced by the continent’s initiatives was a lack of financial resources.

“As a collective and motivated by a common purpose, it is imperative that we proffer robust initiatives to mobilise resources for our programmers, from within the continent,” he said.

Adopted in July 2001 in Lusaka, Zambia, at the 37th AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government, Nepad provides a vision and policy framework for the African Union.

Through Nepad, the continent fosters economic cooperation and integration among member states.

Source of the article: News24

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