Guest Contributor | May 20, 2019 | 0
Africa and Europe sign deals to elevate cooperation in the digital sphere
The President, HE Dr Hage Geingob, accompanied by Hon Stanley Simataa, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, attended the High Level Forum for African and European Leaders, which took place on 17 and 18 December 2018 in Vienna, Austria.
The Forum builds on the momentum and commitments of the Abidjan Summit of 2017 and provided a platform to assess how digitization or digital transformation could be used as a catalyst to enhance existing partnerships between African and Europe leading to boosting inclusive and sustainable economic development.
Simataa reminded participants that Africa still remains the continent with the lowest level of technological deployment and that the discourse on the relationship between development and technology transfer and industrial policy options for Africa has become central to debates on how to promote overall growth and prosperity on the continent in the context Agenda 2063.
“Namibia’s broadband penetration increased drastically and more Namibians than ever before are now able to access opportunities through information technology,” he told the forum.
He pointed out Namibia’s ability to leverage the digital economy would enhance the country’s national competitiveness and innovation systems.
The Forum deliberated on avenues leading to strengthening relations in all aspects of ICT. Specifically, the delegates looked at opportunities for cooperation in the digital age, deriving benefits from digital transformation, securing prosperity and competitiveness, as well as promoting innovation and digitization as important enablers for future developments.
Agreements were signed by the European Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in support of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, as well as SMEs. The European Investment Bank also finalised the signing of three major financing operations which will provide investment in ICT, energy and public transport infrastructure in selected African countries.
Austria will also establish a new investment fund for SMEs investing in Africa and will focus on smaller but innovative investments with a high potential for sustainable and inclusive growth. This fund will be managed by the Austrian Development Bank.