The digital economy is the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness and growth, and it holds huge potential for African entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the backbone of Africa’s economy. However, for African enterprises (and governments) to take full advantage of new digital opportunities we must build a shared strategic vision to guide future coordinated actions for using digital technologies. For the last eighteen months, the NEF has developed a conceptual framework to guide this process.
The proposed framework identifies five building blocks or pillars (basic infrastructure, digital infrastructure, ecosystem enablers, key enabling technologies, human capital and skills), that support the development of a thriving digital economy. By conducting deep dive analyses of various key sectors of the digital economy in light of the five pillars, the NEF hopes to provide much needed insight, and action points that will act as the backbone of national strategic plans across the continent in both the public and private domains. Applying a thorough process of quantitative and qualitative research, the NEF has devised a methodology that collects and analyses primary and secondary source data, consisting of online surveys, in person interviews, and online datasets so as to frame a series of intuitive vision documents.
In the months ahead, the NEF will publish comprehensive reports in the healthcare industry, the finance and banking industry and in human capital development. These documents will highlight our main findings mixed with practical recommendations that can be utilized by the relevant industry players. This exercise, in the future will incorporate other critical parts of the digital economy, thus ensuring a more exhaustive, and applicable shared strategic plan for the African continent.