Commonwealth Digital Connectivity Agenda to be co-led by UK and South Africa to support digital trade

5 Mar 2019

During Africa Tech Week held in 4-5 March 2019, the UK and South Africa announced they will collaborate to lead the Commonwealth Digital Connectivity Agenda that aims to promote prosperity through digital trade. The agenda advocates inclusive growth and sustainable development in the Commonwealth through exchanging best practices and views on digital connectivity. By allowing members to potentialise digitisation, member states will collaborate to develop national digital economies through improving information and communication technology (ICT) capabilities, regulatory frameworks, digital infrastructure, identifying disruptive effects of digital trade, and the participation of women in the digital economy. ‘As Commonwealth countries prepare to embrace the opportunities this offers, and to ensure that the smaller and more vulnerable are not left behind, collaboration and innovation are of supreme importance,’ said Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland. This was further reinforced by South African Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Rob Davies, who noted that ‘[a]ppropriate policies and measures need to be taken to ensure that developing countries benefit from the advantages of technological progress and do not suffer from lack of its early adoption’.

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The impact of the Internet on businesses and the global economy has been crucial in shaping new economic models, and at the same time, raising new concerns.

The Internet is one of the primary drivers of economic growth, which is visible in many countries that have placed the development of ICT as one of the primary tools for boosting the economy.

The need for people to gain access to ICT resources and narrow the digital divide is crucial, and is especially relevant now in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to understand how access to the Internet affects the level of economic and social development in a country.

 

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