The ability of African countries to accelerate economic growth and unleash quality jobs for the youth will be dependent on greater adoption of digital technologies, the World Bank has said in a report launched Monday.
Under the title of “Digital Africa: Technological Transformation for Jobs,” the World Bank report stresses that sustained efforts to bridge the digital divide in Africa are imperative in order to leapfrog the continent to a new phase of growth and renewal.
World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa Andrew Dabalen said rapid digitization will enable Africa to harness the full potential of its youth bulge and attain quality and inclusive economic growth.
Projected to have the largest share of the global workforce by 2100, Africa must boost the uptake of digital technologies in order to create opportunities for more than 22 million people in the continent to join the workforce annually, said the report.
Internet usage varies across the continent with South Sudan recording a low of six percent and South Africa hitting 53 percent, necessitating the need for rapid investments, policy reforms, and training as a means to bridge the digital divide across the continent, the report noted.
The World Bank said digital technologies and innovations will be key to modernizing key sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, and financial services in Africa, calling for concerted efforts to bridge the digital divide weighing heavily on the rural poor as well as start-ups led by women and youth.