The headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) are pictured in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, September 16, 2016. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

AfDB, U.S, Join Forces to Propel Technological Innovation in Africa

In a groundbreaking collaboration, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has teamed up with the US Commercial Service to catalyze technological advancement across the African continent.

The strategic partnership, forged at the Africa Tech Festival in South Africa, underscores a commitment to mutual benefit and innovation.Under this collaboration, US technology firms are set to provide African governments with cutting-edge technologies aimed at improving internet access, fostering digital skills, and creating a supportive regulatory environment.

In return, these governments will open their markets to the participating US firms, marking a pivotal step in cross-continental cooperation.Ashley Ndir, the senior US Commercial Liaison to the African Development Bank, highlighted the transformative potential of this alliance, stating, “We are at a turning point in Africa’s technological advancement. By bridging insights from the U.S. private sector with Africa’s vibrant markets, we aim to drive innovation and economic growth. This partnership is a testament to that mission.”

Nicholas Williams, Head of ICT Operations at the African Development Bank, emphasized the institution’s dedication to pushing Africa’s digital boundaries. He stated, “As Africa’s premier development finance institution, the African Development Bank will help push Africa’s digital boundaries even further by forging strategic relations, building on historical investments, and, more importantly, tapping into the energy of our young population, who are digital natives.”

The collaboration responds to the findings of a 2018 World Economic Forum report, which revealed that 22 out of 25 African countries lacked public policies to promote innovation.

Recognizing the pivotal role of digital technologies in addressing socio-economic challenges, AfDB aims to bridge this gap by partnering with selected US technology firms.

To date, the African Development Bank has invested $2 billion in digital infrastructure, encompassing regional and national broadband development, fostering favorable policy environments for private sector investments, scaling digital skills, and supporting innovative enterprises.

These initiatives have resulted in lower internet access costs, improved digital literacy, and a conducive environment for business and policy development.Partnering with the US Commercial Service, renowned for fostering international trade, is poised to spearhead digital transformation in Africa.

Both organizations reaffirm their dedication to enhancing digital capabilities, envisioning a future where technology propels growth and prosperity across the continent.

This collaborative effort comes at a crucial time, as Africa faces challenges in meeting essential milestones for ‘Agenda 2030,’ further emphasizing the urgency and significance of such strategic partnerships.