Addis Ababa — The Economic Commission for Africa's annual Adebayo Adedeji Lecture will this year interrogate ideas, identify action areas, and propose tangible suggestions for debate and consideration by the continent's policymakers on the promise and peril of the digital economy.
The lecture that was set up to honour the late Professor Adedeji, who was one of Africa's foremost development thinkers and the longest serving ECA Executive Secretary, will be held during the think tank's annual Conference of Ministers in Marrakesh, Morocco, under the theme; Digital transformation of Africa: hype or reality?
"A lot has been written about the digital transformation of the continent; some say it is hype and others say it is reality so this interactive discussion will allow participants to dialogue on this," said Mr. Kasirim Nwuke, Chief of the Technology, Innovation and Green Economy Section in the Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Division at the ECA.
The lecture which interrogates leading issues in Africa's development, will help to increase awareness among African policymakers of the digital economy and promote high-level dialogue on these issues.
"At the end we want to be able to surface new ideas, raise new policy issues that our member States can consider and enable our ministers to begin to consider the promise and peril of this digital transformation," Mr. Nwuke said.
The African Union and regional economic communities are taking proactive steps to provide continental and regional frameworks for Africa's digital transformation just as Member States are taking policy actions, including introducing digital identity platforms, to enhance their digital readiness and preparedness.
The success of recent continental initiatives, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area, Boosting Intra-African Trade and the Single African Air Transport Market, will depend on digital tools and skills, says Mr. Nwuke.
Nigeria's former Minister of Communication Technology and board member at the Web Foundation, Ms. Omobola Johnson, will deliver the lecture while Amel Saidane, a Member of the ECA's Digital ID and Digital Economy Initiative Advisory Board, and Tawanda Sibanda, a partner at McKinsey, will be the discussants.