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Kenya Among six countries driving Africa’s digital growth Studies Reveal.



President Uhuru Kenyatta at a forum in Kigali

Kenya and five other countries in Africa have been named leaders in expansion of Africa’s share in the global digital economy in a new research. The research which was conducted by Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth in collaboration with The Fletcher School at Tufts University in the US, says the six countries are harnessing “the true potential of technology to drive inclusive growth, in a period of changing global market demands.

The six countries were examined against three primary variables — ease of creating digital jobs, resilience of governance and infrastructure and foundational digital potential.

“The ultimate aim of the research was to help countries across Africa optimise their burgeoning digital evolutions, in order to accelerate economic development. These six countries were selected based on their size, economic growth, the median age of residents, quality of governance and digital momentum,” states the report.

Kenya which has been at the forefront of the African digital revolution for the past 10 years and currently has over 80 percent internet penetration made it to the list (Kenya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa) after the report acknowledged the country has been looking into leveraging various segments of digital economy such as taxi hailing services, e-commerce and blockchain to create job opportunities and spur growth.

The report titled Getting Lions to Leapfrog: Can Digital Technologies Deliver on Africa’s Delayed Promise of Inclusive Growth? used Kenya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa as case studies to provide insights on key drivers that could accelerate digital inclusion across Africa.

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According to another study by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), four countries, among them Kenya, control 60 pc of Africa’s digital economy. Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa are leveraging data and various platforms to collectively control the lion’s share of the continent’s digital entrepreneurship activities.

The UN agency, however, warned that the growing digital wave on the continent risked being extremely affected if Kenya moves forward with its plan to start taxing mobile applications and internet usage in an effort to grow tax revenues. The plan could also hurt the growth of online businesses as well as suppress start-ups.

While this kind of taxation may be attractive to governments, it can be counterproductive if it results in a decline in economic activity by reducing the number of active internet users,” states the report.

The report titled Value Creation and Capture: Implications for Developing Countries, warned of numerous implications should these developed countries implement interim and permanent measures to tax the digital economy.


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