European Union and African Union launch a Digital Economy Task Force

The EU-AU Digital Economy Task Force met for the first time today at the High-Level Forum Africa-Europe in Vienna. This partnership on digital economy will explore how best to work together to make the most of the digital transformation of economy and society.

African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Amani Abou-Zeid, European Commission Vice President Andrus Ansip, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel, and Commissioner for International Cooperation & Development, Neven Mimica took part in the launch. Composed by 20 high-level personalities from the public and private sectors, the task force aims at supporting the integration of digital markets in Africa, boosting public and private investment and improving the business environment.

In April 2019 they will present an intermediary report and in June 2019, the task force will provide recommendations on areas first identified as priorities in the EU’s Digital4development policy:

  • access to affordable broadband connectivity and digital infrastructure
  • digital skills
  • digital entrepreneurship
  • eServices (Fintech, eGovernment, eCommerce, eHealth)

Background

The EU-AU Digital Economy Task Force was announced in the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investments and Jobs, launched by President Juncker in the 2018 State of the Union speech. The European Commission set out its ambitions for a comprehensive and innovative partnership between Africa and the EU, and a renewed determination to boost investment for job creation a stronger role for the private sector.

The EU and its Member States provide 52% of global assistance in aid, with an EU contribution of €32 billion over the last 5 years. In 2017, the European Commission presented its Digital4Development policy and launched projects with an EU contribution of €110 million to improve people’s lives with digital technologies and services. Other projects totalling €200 million are in preparation.

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