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Efficient digital govt systems will help Africa meet 2030 single market goal: report

Efficient digital govt systems will help Africa meet 2030 single market goal: report

A report by the Africa Policy Research Institute (APRI) holds that putting in place strong and efficient digital government systems by African countries will drive them closer towards a major continental goal of having a single profitable digital market in the next five years.

The 44-page report authored by three researchers presents a decision-making framework that encourages stronger implementation of more efficient digital government policies, using some top performing African countries as a model for emulation. The three levels of the proposed framework include front and back-office interfaces, data security and exchange platforms and infrastructure.

To get this done, the paper recommends the adoption of what it calls “a modular approach to developing innovative e-government strategies”, “investing in customized solutions” and “creative uses of technology” that will help ensure that individuals and businesses have their needs satisfied.

The paper contends that while the implementation of well-organized digital government systems is vital for facilitating public service delivery and accelerating growth, it is also a major step towards achieving the goal of a single African market by 2030 as outlined in the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy.

At a time when many African countries are engaged in digital transformation projects through the building of digital public infrastructure (DPI) ecosystems, it also is important to beam the focus light on beating off the barriers that prohibit the successful implementation of digital government projects which come with “a range of well recognized benefits.”

Some countries whose digital government pursuits are deemed as exemplary are discussed in the report, and they include Mauritius, South Africa, Seychelles and Tunisia. The countries earned high scores in the three global digital government indices used by the researchers to analyze data. These include the United Nations E-Government Development Index (EGDI), the World Bank’s GovTech Maturity Index (GTMI) and the National Cybersecurity Index of Estonia (NCSI). These are also the only four countries that come above the global average in the EGDI, the researchers say.

Per the report, the factors that make digital government projects in these top performing countries work are the availability of the required digital public infrastructure such as their national digital identity systems, skills and the appropriate governance and regulatory frameworks.

To get closer to the level where these countries have reached, the report suggests that other nations on the continent must dedicate the requisite time, resources and political will to build the needed infrastructure, ensure systems interoperability, close up the digital divide, undertake upskilling and reskilling programs and also put in place the necessary legal and regulatory mechanisms.

Dealing with infrastructure challenges for digital ID and digital government interoperability in Africa was discussed in one session during ID4Africa 2024.

There’ve also been calls for a unified African digital ID to boost the continent’s digital economy through free-flowing commercial transactions.

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