At a glance

The DE4A initiative of the World Bank (WB) was launched in 2018 and pursues the goal of “digitally enabling every individual, business and government in Africa by 2030”. It makes the assumption that digital technologies and the digital economy present huge challenges as well as great opportunities for the African continent. A coordinated, pan-African initiative aims to enable all countries on the continent to work together with development partners and the private sector to set up relevant government programmes and measures that will act as a catalyst for Africa’s digital transformation. The WB estimates funding requirements of between 62 and 79 billion US dollars to establish the foundation for an Africa-wide digital economy.

Structure and contents

The DE4A initiative is based on five principles (comprehensive, transformative, inclusive, homegrown and collaborative). In addition, five key “building blocks” are required to implement the initiative: digital infrastructure, digital platforms, digital financial services, digital entrepreneurship and digital know-how. These building blocks are themselves conditional on a strong regulatory, pro-competition framework.

The DE4A initiative aims to reflect the “continental” approaches already put forward by the African Union (AU) and must be considered in conjunction with existing AU agenda (Agenda 2063) as well as AU flagship initiatives (incl. the “Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa” and the “Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program”). The intention is for the AU to take on a leading role in implementing the initiative, based on obligations of the member countries with country champions and a cross-sectoral multi-level approach (country level, regional, global). As a founding member, the World Bank is looking to provide financial resources and technical expertise as well as taking on tasks in the area of donor coordination.

Involvement of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

To contribute to better regulation and management of the digital domain in the African partner countries, the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development will work to support the World Bank with technical input on the issue of regulation and will champion the topic in the EU Council presidency.

In a newly established partnership, the World Bank, Smart Africa and atingi are working together to develop and implement a capacity building program for the regulation of the digital economy in order to ensure greater digital transformation in the region, building on the Digital Economy for Africa (DE4A) initiative as well as BMZ/GIZ and Smart Africa initiatives.

Further information