The Institute for Liberty and Policy Innovation (ILAPI) in collaboration with Wada and Global Policy House is hosting a High-Level Roundtable Economic and Technology dialogue on AfCFTA and digital assets.
The event is on the theme, “The Political Economy: Digital Investment for Inclusive Development in Africa.”
The digital investment turf and emerging/blockchain technology are greeted with funding gaps, scepticism and an unclear path for its use for economic development and social change in Africa.
This has made Africa a passive participant in the new technology revolution of transparency and accountability for economic and social transformation.
The banking and financial industries, social sector and governments have been sluggish to embrace the new technologies for economic prosperity.
However, African youths and professionals are patterning for opportunities in the new tech space and investing their time and skill in the passive space while progressively transitioning into the developers and technology ecosystem to improve their livelihoods.
In Africa, individual businesses and entrepreneurs including governments cannot easily remit from one country to the other.
Both MoneyGram and Western Union allow Africans to receive funds from Europe and America but Africans can’t send money to Europe and America, and across borders within the blocs of Africa on the same platforms.
This has led to the cropping up of both legal and illegal remittance platforms to break the bottlenecks of the high cost of transactions across borders in Africa.
As countries become determined to digitalize their economies to avoid delays and bureaucracies, there have been huge investment inflows into digitalization and its infrastructures for job creation and economic development.
As a result, investments into tech businesses between 2015 – 2021 rose ten times with a $4.3 Billion in venture capital investment in Africa.
Though quite progressive, the trickling-down effects are yet to be properly quantified towards standards of living.
“We do not downplay the web of issues of cyber threats but how to turn around these threats and tools of new technologies including blockchain to shape economic frameworks for investment, trade, growth and prosperity, look more indispensable.”
Technology for revenue mobilization, fiscal information and monetary decisions for trade, business and contracts need a harmonized system that builds trust between parties.
Also, there are little to no cogent discussions between fiscal and monetary policies and the new technology for economic development in the national budgets of African countries.
Digital and tech contributions to GDP, drive for trade volumes, support for business transition, election transparency, communication and security should come with lots of measurable impacts on Africa’s development.
This is because, besides the investment requires a framework of inclusivity for trade, business, fiscal and monetary transformation.
In developing economies, Blockchain and other new technologies are left behind. The same is observed when digital investment is discussed.
It is imperative to note that, economic trade, business, governance and technology are interconnected and interdependent. These tech tools are evolving and can be used to drive economic prosperity.
The success of AfCFTA and development for economic growth depend on the investment and infrastructures of the new technology (decentralized blockchain including Cardano) for faster trade and business transactions.
It is also important to also note that, regulations are important for standardization but over-regulations undermine business transition, trade and development.
As Inflation keeps soaring and the depreciation of currencies of African Countries continues in this dire situation, there should be a new paradigm shift to drive the economies and grow the GDPs and reduce inflation and manage other indicators for economic development.
The emergence of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and governments’ observatory approach to the adoption of new tech tools and kits to enhance intra-regional digital trade may need an operational framework that resonates with the people.
How can African countries including Ghana, diversify their economies with new technologies for economic growth?
In this regard, the dialogue would help in finding avenues of ensuring citizens of the different economic blocs of Africa would be able to benefit from the digital investment, and infrastructure policies by the government and formulate ways to systematically and sustainably engage state and non-state actors in the digital and financial ecosystems for trade and economic prosperity.
This will include; financial and tax economists, bankers, AI and Cybersecurity experts, blockchain leaders, diplomats, lawyers, Real Estate investors, stock brokers, development economists, CSOs, Trade experts, and other experts from the industry to explore best practices and digital innovations for Africa’s development.