UK forms alliance with Africa to push digital commerce and trade
A new business group to drive to drive digital commerce opportunities on the continent backed by the United Kingdom (UK) has been formed.
The Africa Forum for Digital Commerce was announced yesterday in Barcelona on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress, where the UK government hosted executives from Africa’s mobile and digital economy ecosystem.
The entity is aimed at assembling people and organisations “to collaborate and create digital commerce opportunities from the continent and to the continent”.
The forum’s founding members include ARM (E3)NGAGE which has recently been launching its own digitisation initiatives across the continent.
Other founding members are, AfricaNenda, an independent, African-led organisation created to accelerate the growth of instant and inclusive payment systems.
Connected Places Catapult, Vodafone and what3words complete the list of the founding members.
The UK government says digital trade is a driver of business growth all over the world and is looking at promoting partnerships with Africa, specifically in mobile driven digital trade.
Market research company, eMarketer, predicts that online sales will soar from $3.3 trillion 2019 to $6.2 trillion in 2023 and $7.4 trillion by 2025.
In Africa, the United Nations estimates that internet business could add $180 billion to the continent’s GDP.
“We know that digital trade and digital services powered through mobile and other channels is the future and will be at the heart of growth in Africa. The continent is one of the most exciting in entrepreneurship and innovation and this century will redefine Africa as its population claims the opportunity ahead and reaches for economic empowerment, all powered by entrepreneurship and investment, ” says Jamila Saidi, head of digital commerce at the UK trade department.
The Department says it is cooperating with African Business magazine to highlight how Africa’s vibrant and entrepreneurial tech community can leverage partnerships to overcome hurdles to unlocking the potential of digital trade in the continent.
Stephen Ozoigbo, snr. director, emerging economies at Arm, comments: "Since the inception of our (E³)NGAGE lab model, we have seen tremendous progress across targeted program areas that support our digitisation strategies across the continent.
“Our current ecosystem successes in Africa have also accelerated Arm’s ambitions around launching additional labs, as we expand across the continent."