Akufo-Addo Urges African Governments to Invest in Digital Infrastructure

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Akufo-Addo Urges African Governments to Invest in Digital Infrastructure

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Akufo-Addo Urges African Governments to Invest in Digital Infrastructure

Akufo-Addo Urges African Governments to Invest in Digital Infrastructure

President Nana Akufo-Addo has stressed the importance of embracing technological advancements to drive prosperity across the continent.

In his remarks as the 3i Summit opened in Accra – with policymakers, investors and innovators from across Africa united in their ambition to harness financial technology as a catalyst for economic growth and development on the continent – he highlighted the transformative potential of modern technologies in reshaping Africa’s economic landscape.

“To realise fully these benefits, we must embrace the technologies that are reshaping the global economy and make them work for us,” President Akufo-Addo stated, underlining the need for proactive engagement with digital innovations.

The President consequently called upon governments across Africa to prioritise substantial investments in digital infrastructure, which he described as the foundational framework for achieving shared prosperity. He stressed that a robust digital infrastructure would serve as the backbone for economic development, facilitating efficient communication, commerce and innovation.

“Governments across Africa should invest heavily in the digital infrastructure that will form the backbone of our shared prosperity,” he stated.

This aligns with a growing consensus among African leaders regarding the pivotal role of technology in driving sustainable growth and development.

Despite this and a wider digital infrastructure deficit, African countries continue to fall behind more advanced nations in their spending on digital architecture.

It is estimated that African countries spend about 1.1 percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on digital investment, while advanced economies spend an average of 3.2 percent – leading the Brooking Institute to state: “Thus, business-as-usual is not an option as it will continue to widen the digital divide and drive further marginalisation of Africa”.

President Akuffo-Addo is convinced that bridging the digital divide will prove crucial in attaining full benefits from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“These are not mere statistics. They are a testament to the boundless potential that lies within our grasp, a promise of a brighter future for all Africans,” the President said, pointing to the AfCFTA’s aim of lifting 30 million people out of extreme poverty and boosting incomes for 68 million more by 2035, increasing intra-African trade by 52 percent and generating over US$450billion for the continent’s GDP.

Ghana has emerged as a leader in fintech innovation, the president noted, with 17 million citizens now holding digital IDs linked to critical services.

Mr. Akufo-Addo stressed that supportive policies are key, touting Ghana’s success with “e-government initiatives expanding financial inclusion to once unimaginable heights”.

Bank of Ghana (BoG) Governor Dr. Ernest Addison highlighted the country’s booming mobile money sector, with over 900 billion transactions last year.

“Ghana stands tall among nations of the world with one of the highest mobile money penetration rates; proof of our people’s ingenuity and adaptability,” he remarked.

But challenges remain across Africa, Dr. Addison pointed out, with a “general lack of investor visibility” hindering many local fintech startups from scaling up to meet diverse financial needs.

“The regulatory aspect is another major issue, as fintechs must navigate requirements and compliance standards which are non-negotiable in Africa’s financial industry,” the BoG chief stated.

Finance minister Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam noted that fintech offers unprecedented opportunities to bolster financial inclusion and empower more individuals to participate meaningfully in the formal economy.

“The landscape is vast, from mobile payments and digital lending to blockchain remittances and AI credit assessment. These drive efficiency, mitigate costs and unlock value across diverse sectors,” Dr. Adam said.

He further called for an “African agenda” built on strategic public-private partnerships, investments in digital infrastructure and the establishment of regional fintech hubs to close the digital divide.

“The efficacy of fintech should be gauged by its ability to maximise technology’s contribution to inclusive growth,” he stated.

And while Ghana has made “remarkable strides”, Dr. Adam said, a conducive macroeconomic environment is essential – outlining measures to control inflation, reduce currency depreciation and accelerate disbursements from development partners.

“As we convene, it is incumbent on us to acknowledge the strides Ghana has made in nurturing a vibrant fintech ecosystem, solidifying our position as a frontrunner in innovation across the continent,” the finance minister said.

The summit featured platforms for fintech startups to pitch investors, discussions on women in tech and using fintech for inclusion, plus insights from business leaders.

Source: Thebftonline

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