6 July 2017

Leading figures from banking and business have joined government and public institutions from Europe and Africa, to mobilize renewed support and investments for Africa’s digital economy. The gathering, in Berlin today, is being hosted by the European Investment Bank and Afrika-Verein, the German business association. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Co-operation is patron of this high-ranking event.

“Africa Day - Empowering Millions: Africa’s Rising Digital Economy”  is being held this year on the  eve of the G20 summit under its German  Presidency, in line with the G20’s initiative Compact for Africa, supporting the EU’s New Consensus for Development, as well as delivering on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The aim is to support development by fostering innovation, tech entrepreneurship and the expansion of the digital economy in Africa through well targeted investment and practical support on the ground.  Investors, start ups, small businesses and major companies in Europe and Africa will join the discussion to help pinpoint ways, projects and initiatives to encourage future investment.

Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, opened the conference emphasising: “Investing in Africa’s digital economy is a necessary step towards opening new investment opportunities, connections between people and businesses. This is a sector where the EU bank has wide expertise around the world and is ready to invest not only in high tech but also in basic telecommunication infrastructures, from West to East and North to South Africa. Supporting Digital Africa, the skills, the start-ups and the capacity of the young generation, is already bringing opportunities not just for African business but for European businesses too, and that of course means the creation of sustainable jobs and flourishing communities. Africa is the continent of the future, and by strengthening our partnerships, communications, connections, particularly between the public and private sectors, we can deliver investments towards the SDG objectives.“

Stefan Liebing, Chairman of the German-African Business Association commented: “The ongoing digitalisation gives our neighbouring continent the opportunity to be one step ahead. Africa’s youth gains new prospects and the private sector develops new business cases. We need to bring sophisticated businesses together with young ideas to achieve the progress that Africa is demanding. Germany set an example by putting the continent on top of the G20 Agenda. This focus for Africa needs to continue, even after G20.”

Delivering the Conference’s opening speech, Gerd Mueller Minister of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Development and Co-operation underlined: “Sustainable and inclusive growth in Africa is a priority for the German G20 Presidency. With the Agenda 2063, Africa has already set out its path towards sustainable development in the coming decades. We are providing strong support to the implementation of the Agenda 2063, especially through our Marshall Plan with Africa and our initiatives for rural development, vocational training and the digital sector.”

Source: European Investment Bank

Illustration Photo: The Beyond Access Nigeria project is creating a network of 70 libraries throughout Nigeria that are equipped to support the efforts of women and youth to enhance their digital, employability, and entrepreneurship skills (credits: Beyond Access Nigeria / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0))

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