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Africa makes $8.3b on GDP since digitization – ECA

Digitization in Africa is said to have impacted the continent’s economy by $ 8.3 billion and in addition, created over 600,000 jobs since 2011. This is contained Economic Report on Africa, published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, (ECA.

According to the ECA, due to the significance of digitization, digital applications are already being leveraged to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, including the empowerment of traders who are women and young people, and mobile and digital solutions to offer possibilities for productive job creation for young people and further boost the sector.

The report further enumerates that, though important progress is being made, there is a need to increase public and private investment in the development of information and communications technology and related capabilities, to help overcome various challenges faced by trade and the private sector. There is also a need to adapt and harmonize legislation on technology, including intellectual property and data privacy, to rapid technological and social changes so as to maximize the benefits of digitization.

It says further that, though important progress is being made, there is a need to increase public and private investment in the development of information and communications technology and related capabilities, to help overcome various challenges faced by trade and the private sector.

It added that, there is also a need to adapt and harmonize legislation on technology, including intellectual property and data privacy, to rapid technological and social changes so as to maximize the benefits of digitization.

Even though digitization in Africa seems to have impacted enormously on the economy, it is facing several setbacks that make it difficult for governments to collect revenue, the report said.

For instance, It has certain distinct features, including the use of data, which in most cases is difficult to assign a value to; and the ability to conduct business without having a physical presence are some of the challenges which have been highlighted by the report.

It said, current tax policies in most African countries are aimed at a more traditional economy, and do not take into account the distinctive nature of the digital economy, resulting in loss of revenue for governments.

It advised that governments will need to rethink the current taxation frameworks, to accommodate the digital economy.

By Asabea Akonor

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