A ton of insights have been gathered from the now-concluded United States–Africa Leaders Summit 2022. During the conference, Flutterwave CEO Olugbenga “GB” Agboola, for instance, emphasized the importance of payment, commerce, and logistics in supporting inclusive digital transformation in Africa.
He stated that these pillars, which facilitate the cross-border movement of money, people, goods, and services without barriers, are critical for leveraging digital transformation in Africa for inclusive and sustainable development.
“The three major pillars that can help Africans effectively leverage digital transformation for inclusive and sustainable development are payment, commerce, and logistics. These pillars support the cross-border movement of money, people, goods, and services without barriers,” he said.
GB addressed the challenges of building a payment infrastructure that connects more than 30 out of the 50+ countries in Africa.
He explained that this process required Flutterwave to visit every country in the continent, establish partnerships, obtain various licenses, and connect with regulators.
As a result, the company now has over 500 payment partner integrations that must be maintained daily. The discussion, titled “How Can the U.S. Support an Inclusive Digital Transformation in Africa?”, was hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C.
Other panelists at the US-Africa Leaders Summit 2022 discussion on inclusive digital transformation in Africa included Engr. John Tanui, the Principal Secretary of the State Department for ICT and Digital Economy in Kenya, Lacina Kone, the Director General and CEO of Smart Africa, and Christopher Burns, the Chief Digital Development Officer at the US Agency for International Development and Director for Technology in the Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub at USAID.
During the discussion, Engr. John Tanui noted that the Kenyan government has implemented various bills and initiatives, such as the Kenya Information and Communication Act, ICT Universal Fund, Data Protection Act, Kenya National Innovation Agency, Digital Economy Bill, and Startup Bill, in order to create a legal and regulatory environment that supports innovation without stifling it.
We established the National Council of Science, Technology, and Innovation, the Kenya National Innovation Agency with research funds to support innovative and promising ideas – PS Tanui
He, who previously served as KoTDA Chief Executive Officer, also emphasized the government’s efforts to provide opportunities for innovators to pilot and commercialize their ideas within a reasonable timeframe through the establishment of the National Council of Science, Technology, and Innovation and the Kenya National Innovation Agency with research funds to support innovative and promising ideas.
“We established the National Council of Science, Technology, and Innovation, the Kenya National Innovation Agency with research funds to support innovative and promising ideas,” says Tanui.
Tanui emphasized that digital transformation in Africa carries risks, and therefore, the Kenyan government is working to ensure a supportive environment for innovation.
The panelists at the discussion agreed that in order for the digital transformation of Africa to be inclusive, investments must be comprehensive, collaborative, and involve various stakeholders including national governments, the private sector, global players like the US, and civil societies.