Digital innovations hold key to accelerated economic transformation and creation of jobs in Africa, according to the World Bank in a report released on Monday.
The study “Digital Africa: Technological Transformation for Jobs,” states that sustained efforts to bridge the digital divide in Africa are crucial in leapfrogging the continent to a new phase of growth and renewal.
World Bank’s Chief Economist for Africa Andrew Dabalen said increased digitisation will enable Africa to tap the full potential of its youth bulge and attain quality and inclusive economic growth.
Africa is projected to have the largest share of the global workforce by 2100, meaning the continent has to double down on the efforts to drive job creation.
The report notes that adoption of digital technologies is pivotal in efforts to generate opportunities for more than 22 million people in the continent to join the workforce annually.
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.