Egypt’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat has said that, despite the negative effects of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Africa is a promising market in the field of information and communication technology (ICT).
He added that the African market is full of opportunities, which opens prospects for cooperation with international development partners and the private sector.
This will enable countries across the continent to rebuild better and stronger based on four main elements that are expected to increase in effectiveness in the post-COVID-19 era.
These are identified namely as: digital inclusion and the flexible response for technological developments; digital economic integration; protection of personal data; and privacy.
The minister’s remarks came during the activities of the Second Aswan Forum for Sustainable Peace and Development, which is being held under the title “Formulating a vision for the new African reality … towards a stronger recovery and a better building”.
The forum aims to discuss a number of issues across the continent, foremost of which are the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Talaat noted the importance of assessing the impact of the pandemic on the rates of development across Africa.
He pointed out that, according to a Development Center of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report released earlier this year, Africa will witness its first recession in 25 years. This will mean that gross domestic product (GDP) across the continent will decline by between 2.1% and 4.9%.
Talaat believes that there is a state of prosperity in the ICT sectors of many African countries, within the framework of achieving digital inclusion in the continent.
This reflects the imperative to achieve digital transformation, especially with the increase in the number of Internet users and the increasing spread of mobile phones.
The minister highlighted ICT’s role in supporting national strategies to serve the health, education, and business sectors. This particularly serves the most vulnerable groups, including women and people with disabilities.
Talaat praised the efforts of the African Union Commission for Infrastructure and Energy within the framework of the African Digital Transformation Strategy, which aims to create an integrated and comprehensive digital society and economy that supports the efforts of the continent’s ability to be productive.