WORLD Bank and the Africa Union are rooting for cross-sectoral collaboration and multi-stakeholder approach to harness Africa’s potential in ICT. In a joint report titled eTransform Africa, the two institutions noted that some of the significant areas ICT could be counted on delivering include the financial sector, agriculture, education, health and climate change.
The study on the financial services sector includes country case studies of Kenya and Senegal. ICT and innovative business models have helped widen financial inclusion, most visible case in Kenya, where active bank accounts have grown fourfold since 2007 aided by some 17 million M-Pesa mobile money accounts.
“The Internet and mobile phones are transforming the development landscape in Africa, injecting new dynamism in key sectors. The challenge is to scale up these innovations and success stories for greater social and economic impacts across Africa over the next decade,” said Jamal Saghir, World Bank director for Sustainable Development in the Africa Region.
“Valuable and sustainable applications are most likely to develop within an environment that encourages experimentation and collaboration between technologists, entrepreneurs and development practitioners,” he said.
Saghir called on stakeholders to combine their interests in communal projects such as iHub and Nailab in Nairobi, Hive Colab and AppLab in Uganda to create new spaces for training, content development, and pre-incubation of firms.
eTransform Africa produced by the World Bank and the African Development Bank, with the support of the African Union, identifies best practice in the use of ICT in key sectors of the African economy. Under the theme “Transformation-Ready”, the contribution of ICT to agriculture, climate change adaptation, education and health is explored.