Report of the EU-AU Digital Economy Task Force

The 8th edition of the Digital Assembly took place in Bucharest, Romania. The event, co-organised by the Commission and the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, brought together representatives of EU Member States with stakeholders from industry, academia and civil society.

Discussions focused on what is needed to accelerate the digital transformation and ensure that the EU remains globally competitive. Three key initiatives were featured: 

  1. A joint declaration by several Member States to work together to build a quantum communication infrastructure (QCI); 
  2. The adoption of the final report by the European Union – African Union Digital Economy Task Force with policy recommendations and concrete actions to strengthen cooperation on digital issues between the two continents;
    The DETF is one of the task forces established as part of the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs launched by President Juncker in his 2018 State of the Union Address. For more information about the report see here
  3. A new investment facility to scale up digital start-ups in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe.

The European Union-African Union Digital Economy Task Force (EU-AU DETF) provides a platform of partnership for the private sector, donors, international organisations, financial institutions and civil society based on a shared understanding of how an already fast evolving African digital transformation can achieve cross-border integration, and bring benefits to all citizens. During 6 months, the EU-AU DETF developed a shared vision, a set of common agreed principles and a list of policy recommendations and actions focusing on four main objectives.  
In the report, African and European experts propose a series of policy recommendations and concrete actions to develop the digital economy and society on the African continent.
The DETF draws policy recommendations and proposes concrete actions to address the principal barriers faced by the African continent as it seeks to develop the digital economy and society. For this purpose, the DETF set out four main goals also identified as priorities in the EU’s Digital4developmentpolicy:

  1. Accelerating universal access to affordable broadband.
  2. Guaranteeing essential skills for all to enable citizens to thrive in the digital age.
  3. Improving the business environment and facilitating access to finance and business support services to boost digitally enabled entrepreneurship.
  4. Accelerating the adoption of eServices and the further development of the digital economy for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Technology-related productivity gains in crucial sectors (i.e. financial services, education, health, retail, agriculture, and government) in Africa are predicted to reach between US$ 148bn and US$ 318bn by 2025”(pages 7)

“Virtual reality can increase access of youths in remote areas to quality Vocational and Educational Training (VET); smallholder agriculture can benefit from market information and early warning systems”(pages 7)

The report was adopted today by European Commissioners Mariya Gabriel and Neven Mimica, and Minister of Communications of Ghana, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, at the Digital Assembly in Bucharest. A preliminary version of the report was presented in May.

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