Editor’s Note: May 16, 2019
A ‘Digital Blueprint’ for Africa?
Kenya on Wednesday launched a new “Digital Economy Blueprint” for Africa, aimed at strengthening the continent’s ability to compete in the technology-driven global economy.
It has five ‘pillars’ focusing on digital infrastructure, public service delivery, skills, entrepreneurship, and business.
It’s a good, and necessary, idea.
Beyond the runaway success of mobile phones, and the occasional high profile technology investment, Africa is losing the digital economy race.
The continent’s internet penetration rate stood at 37.3% in December 2018, the lowest globally. It has the highest data costs at an average of 9.2% of monthly income – almost double the global average, and well above the 1% – 2% considered to be affordable.
While investment into the tech sector is growing, total fundraising of $334m by African startups accounted for just 0.11% of global VC funding in 2018. India alone attracted 31 times as much.
The likes of Kenya, with its thriving tech ecosystem and success in mobile money/fintech, are very much the exception to the rule.
During the launch the country’s president Uhuru Kenyatta said “Kenya is ready to share with Africa, our experience,” calling for more collaboration between states to drive “digital and economic transformation on the continent.”
Assuming Kenya is serious about the plan it’s a call to action worth following.
From The Continent
Angola’s economy should return to growth in 2019, after three years of contraction, on the back of reform efforts and the implementation of a $3.7bn IMF program, credit ratings agency Moody’s has said. Growth is expected to be around 0.3%. More: Bloomberg
Transition talks between Sudan’s military and opposition groups have been suspended for 72 hours following violent clashes in the capital Khartoum. The two sides had originally planned to finalize a three-year power sharing deal on Thursday. More: Al Jazeera
The Daily Stat
The amount Mozambique is reportedly seeking from donors for post-cyclone reconstruction efforts. More: Club of Mozambique
The Global Perspective
Goldman Sachs is seeking a South African banking license, and plans to offer fixed income products in Africa’s most advanced economy. The bank has also announced an equity trading partnership with local asset manager Investec. More: Reuters
Kenya sold a $2bn dual-tranche Eurobond on Wednesday, it’s third issuance in five years, in part to pay off existing loans. This comes amid growing concerns about the country’s debt sustainability. More: Daily Nation