“More people are online than offline throughout the world. Nowhere else is digitisation making more rapid progress than in Africa. Over the last five years, the number of Internet users there has increased threefold. This is why we must not miss out on digital development in Africa! Otherwise we will never create sufficient education, training and employment opportunities,” maintained Germany’s Federal Minister of Development Gerd Müller, presenting the new ICT platform ‘Africa Cloud’. With this platform, E-learning programmes are to be provided for young people in rural and remote areas in Africa.
According to the Minister, the contents of the platform for vocational trainers, young farmers or digital entrepreneurs will be developed locally for downloading onto a PC or a smartphone. Local partners and a coach are to support the programmes, which will be starting at the Green Innovation Centres for Agriculture and the Food Sector as of January 2020.
“With digitisation, Africa can make gigantic development leaps. To achieve this, we must take advantage of the full potential of today’s technologies in order to create new opportunities for the young Africans in education and training, the agricultural sector, medicine or the technology sector,” Müller emphasises.
As the Minister notes, with the initiative ‘Digital Africa”, the BMZ is already implementing around 40 projects with a financial volume of 165 million euros. Issues they address range from strengthening good governance with Internet-based citizens’ participation through new sales channels for farmers via apps to healthcare in rural regions using telemedicine. “This enables very real development leaps and also opens up investment prospects for German and other European enterprises,” Müller explains.
Seven pioneering digital projects
In addition to the “Africa Cloud Initiative”, the seven BMZ digital pioneering projects include the “Digital Africa” venture. With it, the BMZ has initiated around 40 projects with a volume of 164 million euros since 2015. One example is the “Moving Rwanda” project with Volkswagen, Siemens, SAP and Inros Lackner focusing on environmentally friendly mobility concepts.
With the initiative “Make-IT”, together with enterprises and networks of the German digital industry, the BMZ is promoting the digital start-up community e.g. in Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana und Tunisia.
During Germany’s G20 Presidency in 2017, the BMZ launched the “#eSkills4Girls Initiative”, the aim of which is to promote the education and employment prospects for girls and women in a digitised world – together with partners from politics, business, research and civil society.
In the initiative “Digital Centres”, technical knowhow, academic IT knowledge and digital entrepreneurship are combined under one roof. The Digital Centres are a first port of call for those entering professions in the field and founders seeking to develop creative digital solutions and business models and are to support African governments in establishing structures and capacities for the development, implementation and dissemination of digital solutions.
The initiative “Digital Intelligence for All – FAIR Forward” is aimed at supporting local, value-based AI development and better data security, above all with partners from Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa and India. With the Internet company “Mozilla”, language recognition systems are being developed for local African languages such as language assistants that understand languages like Kinyarwanda.
In the context of the “Strategic Partnership Digital Africa”, companies are linked up with one another in networks in order to develop new business ideas, such as mobile tax record keeping in Zambia, an E-commerce platform in Rwanda or the digitisation of value chains in agriculture in Uganda.
The BMZ is also cooperating with the re:publica organisers, and a year ago, it brought the conference to Africa for the first time. At the re:publica in Accra (Ghana), pioneers, visionaries and nerds from Africa developed digital solutions for new employment in nearly 100 sessions. BMZ is supporting these digital innovations “Made in Africa” – also to intensify communication on digital transition between Africa and Germany.