Okonjo-Iweala: Africa Lags Behind In Global Digital Export

The Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that the African continent currently lags behind in global export of digitally delivered services.

Okonjo-Iweala noted that the continent counted for less than 1 percent for global export of digitally delivered services export in 2021.

The director-general made this known virtually at the First National Digital Economy Conference, organised by the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) with the theme “Promoting A Vibrant Digital Economy; A Catalyst For Economic Growth”.

While noting that the young population are digitally sarvy, she stated that Nigeria and Africa have a chance to grow through digitalisation.

She said: “We must do more to develop the tech sector, this goes beyond digital infrastructure. There is a lot beyond regulation, the government can do more to facilitate the growth of the tech industry.

“Nigeria can also benefit from regional and global trade and investment leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) increasingly integrated market of 1.4bn consumers and entrepreneurs as well as market.

“The business to business opportunities are substantial. African countries can attract new investments and become new hubs.

“The WTO is currently working with the world bank to see if we can help build capacity for African countries in digitisation.  We will continue to provide a forum for an inclusive and constructive engagement on the digital economy so that everyone has the tools in participating and benefiting from digital trade.

Earlier, the National President, NACCIMA, Ide John Udeagbala said the conference was targeted at encouraging the government to come up with policies that will build on existing laws and promote the growth of the technology ecosystem in Nigeria.

Udeagbala also urged the government to establish digital hubs in the six geo-political zones to give opportunities to the rural areas, promote start-ups, encourage innovations in the industry and discover tech savvy that abound in the country.

He added that the conference was aimed at identifying the opportunities that exist in the tech.

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