Covid Post X

Stating that COVID-19 crisis has become the single biggest catalyst for digital transformation, the African Union (AU) Commissioner for Infrastructure & Energy, Amani Abou-Zeid, has urged solidarity and partnership for Africa’s digitization.

The AU Commissioner made the remarks during the virtual e-governance conference organized by Estonian e-Governance Academy under the theme “Giant Leaps Start with Small Steps,” according to an AU statement on Saturday.

Abou-Zeid said COVID-19 has also moved digitalization from a niche market into mass adoption.

She reiterated the immense opportunity for African countries to re-invent businesses and public services models, to prepare for the inevitable change in citizens and consumers’ behavior and to align for a new, more digitized normal.

Stating that most of the African continent remains unconnected or with slow connections at unaffordable prices, which the Commissioner said should be considered with pressing issue of digitization on the continent.

“Connections are not reliable most of the time as energy is not reliable all the time. Coverage levels in rural areas and landlocked countries, lack or skills especially among girls and women, use of non-natural languages are existing barriers and divides that we have to consider as we go forward and press on digitalization in our continent,” said Abou-Zeid.

During a recent live-streamed event organized in collaboration with Ant Financial Services of the Alibaba Group, African ministers and experts have also agreed that technology is a common denominator in mitigating the impact of the current pandemic, restoring livelihoods and tackling similar challenges in the future.

Stating that COVID-19 is a clarion call for Africa to prioritize digital connectivity and governance, they have noted that innovative technology and connectivity is key to fight the novel coronavirus disease on the African continent.

The African Digital Transformation Strategy (DTS) 2020-2030, was endorsed by the AU heads of states summit in Addis Ababa in February 2020.

The AU Commissioner has urged all partners to accelerate the implementation of the strategy.

The e-Governance Conference in its 6th edition, is an annual event organized by the Estonian e-Governance Academy under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia and attended by over 1,000 participants from 134 countries.

The main objective of this year’s Conference was to reflect on current challenges in helping citizens to manage their lives and business online, and in converting a vision of digital transformation as essential part of countries’ development paths.

In her opening remarks, President Kersti Kaljulaid of Estonia said, “Governments should change old rules and legislation to enable the permanent implementation of technologies that have been shown to be efficient during the crisis, for instance, in remote learning, telemedicine and remote work.”

President Kaljulaid stressed the need to maintain users trust in digital solutions and the implementation of new post-crisis digital solutions while ensuring cybersecurity.

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