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Benin progresses in digital development - study

By , Freelance Investigative Journalist
Benin , 08 Aug 2023
Aurélie Adam Soule Zoumarou, Benin’s minister of digital.
Aurélie Adam Soule Zoumarou, Benin’s minister of digital.

A study of Benin's digital growth reveals that the country is making strides towards becoming a key player in West Africa's digital revolution.

This is according to the GIZ-commissioned study "State of the Digital Ecosystem and Digital Entrepreneurship in Benin," prepared by Acumen Network and ACED.

According to the research, digital technology is a crucial driver of economic growth and social inclusion, and the country has made significant investments in infrastructure and structural improvements.

Benin is competing to be Africa's technology spark, according to the research. Benin's digital minister, Aurélie Adam Soule Zoumarou, recently outlined ambitions to enhance the country's digital environment and, more broadly, its economy.

According to the GIZ, 102 digital organisations participated in the study, with women accounting for only 13% of the entrepreneurs running these digital businesses.

The majority of agritech, fintech, edutech, and healthtech entrepreneurs were under the age of 35, and more than 95% had a first degree or related IT expertise, according to the study.

Despite this high academic competence, several fields have skill gaps, such as advanced technologies (22%), UI/UX design (17%), business development (13%), digital project management (10%), cybersecurity (6%), and mobile development (4%).

The survey also revealed that some corporate leaders undervalue some competencies, such as company development.

Benin has achieved substantial progress on a number of fronts, according to the Report.

On the E-government development index, Benin ranks third out of eight West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) countries, trailing Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire.

In terms of telecom infrastructure and human resources, the country ranked 10th on the African continent in 2022.

Benin has also made considerable strides in e-commerce development.

Given the country's progress in promoting and securing electronic transactions, the report's authors estimate that it will soon be among the top three in the WAEMU region and among the top 15 in Africa.

Furthermore, Benin achieved a national cybersecurity index score of 58.44/100, ranking it first in the whole West African subregion and second only to Morocco on the continent.

According to the report, the Benin government has been keen on implementing a national pro-digital policy over the previous five years, which includes, among other things, the deployment of an intelligent administration (Smart Gov), widespread adoption of e-commerce, and the establishment of a friendly IT ecosystem.

Citizens in Benin currently have access to over 250 online services as a result of the country's digitalization and digitalisation of its public administration.

Despite strong political commitment and support from corporate, national, and international players, however, an effective coordinating strategy is inadequate, limiting expansion.

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