Digital Opportunities in African Businesses

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Adoption of digital technologies is widely acknowledged to boost productivity and employment, stimulate investment, and promote growth and development. Africa has already benefited from a rapid diffusion of information and communications technology, characterized by the widespread adoption of mobile phones. However, access to and use of digital technology among firms is uneven in the region, varying not just among countries but also within them. Consequently, African businesses may not be reaping the full potential benefits offered by ongoing improvements in digital infrastructure. Using rich datasets, “Digital Opportunities in African Businesses” offers a new understanding of the region’s incomplete digitalization—namely, shortfalls in the adoption and effective use of digital technology by firms to perform productive tasks. The research presented here also highlights the challenges in addressing incomplete digitalization, finding that the cost of machinery, equipment, and software, as well as the cost of connectivity to the internet, is significantly more expensive in Africa than elsewhere. “Digital Opportunities in African Businesses” outlines ways in which the private sector, with support from policy makers, international institutions, and regulators, can help bring down these costs, stimulating more widespread digitalization of the region’s firms, thereby boosting productivity and, by extension, economic development. This book will be relevant to anyone with an interest in furthering digitalization across Africa.
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Cruz, Marcio; editor. 2024. Digital Opportunities in African Businesses. © Washington, DC: World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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