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SADC countries implored to pick digitisation for development

The secretary general of SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF), Boemo Sekgoma has implored the bloc’s lawmakers to help Africa reap the full spectrum of opportunities which the digital space can offer.

Sekgoma’s remarks were made on the sidelines of 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, at the African Union (AU) office in New York, USA. 

She also revealed that SADC is working on a Model Law to close the digital gender gap in the region’s respective countries.

Sekgoma said the SADC Model Law on the Digital Economy will pave the way forward for an upscaling to digital practices at national level.

“This is perhaps an opportune occasion for the forum to invite partners to collaborate on this new endeavour and share ideas on how to accelerate the transition of Africa to an acceptance of digital norms that facilitate businesses, reduce transaction length, and heighten economic growth,” said Sekgoma.

She said that there are immense gains to be made in closing the digital gender divide with the progressive implementation of the SADC Model Law on gender-based-violence.

“The time to act is indeed now, and it is important for all legislators in Africa, and in particular women legislators, to push for the reinforcement of legal and policy frameworks to empower both men and women through Information and Communication Technologies, and to ensure that women are not left behind in the quest towards the digital revolution.”

She bemoaned that Europe, Asia and the Americas are moving ahead quickly with innovation and technological advancements, urging the African continent not to fall behind and miss the step of progress.

Sekgoma highlighted that while probing robots are being used to explore Mars, through the use of ICT, there are some regions in Africa still in the dark and that lack electricity, never mind internet access.

“While we talk of the digital age and innovation for women and young girls, we must also realise that some regions need further infrastructural support to engineer their way to evolve towards cyber facilities.”

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