The Future of Digital Tech in Africa

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JR: Welcome to the future of digital tech in Africa. This web chat focuses on how
entrepreneurs in civil society can become more engaged in
the growing digital economy. I send a special greeting to
the young people joining us from American Spaces
across the region. This web chat occurs on
the eve of the high level dialogue between the United
States and the African Union Commission. Tomorrow the African Union
Commission and the United States will discuss
peace and security, creating a level playing field
to fuel trade and investment, promoting democracy, human
rights, and good governance, and ensuring Africa's
youth benefit from increased economic
growth and development. Our purpose is to
identify concrete ways we can work together as
partners to further these goals. For example, the United States
and African Union Commission are deepening
collaboration to support Africa's growing
digital economy, while reducing cyber threats.

Africa's youth are front
and center in our work. With more than one
third of the population between the ages
of 15 and 34, we must include you
in the conversation about where to go next. Africa's young people are
as wired and connected as their counterparts in
Europe, Asia, or North America. They share aspirations for
a better life for themselves and their families. Africa outpaces
all other regions globally in growth of
mobile subscriptions.

In just six years, the
number of mobile accounts on the continent will
reach 625 million. There is no doubt
that the African is becoming more
interconnected thanks to new technologies
and services. This presents enormous
opportunity for businesses, communities, and governments. We intend to start
a conversation today with Africa's youth
about fostering inclusive economic growth,
promoting investment that creates good jobs for
Africa's young people, and utilizing the Africa
continental free trade area to increase intra-African
trade and promote prosperity. You represent Africa's future. I encourage you to
ask questions, keep the conversation about
the future of digital tech in Africa going long after
today's program ends. FOREIGN SERVICE
OFFICER SADIE TUCKER: Hello and thank you for
joining this web chat today.

I'm Sadie Tucker, a
Foreign Service officer here at the U.S. Department of
State here in Washington, DC. During this
discussion, we'll talk about how the technology
landscape is changing rapidly in Africa. And with that change
comes new opportunities for entrepreneurs in the fast
evolving digital economy. As Assistant
Secretary Nagy noted, sub-Saharan Africa is the
fastest growing region in the world for
mobile subscriptions. And by 2025, there will be an
estimated 625 mobile accounts. Every year the Continent is
becoming more interconnected with new technologies,
services, and infrastructure. There is substantial
economic benefits tied to growth of
the digital economy across Africa,
including opportunities for innovative businesses,
investment, and a variety of jobs in different sectors.

We'll also explore
cybersecurity best practices, which is of critical importance
as more and more businesses in Africa shift their
operations, transactions, and intellectual
property onto the web. This web chat occurs just a day
before the high level dialogue between the United States and
the African Union Commission. Tomorrow, leaders from the
African Union Commission and the United States government
will meet here in Washington to discuss how we can
deepen our partnership to ensure Africa's youth
benefits from increased economic growth and development. This web chat serves
as an opportunity to hear from you,
Africa's youth. We want to know your
thoughts about how we can be more
responsive to emerging opportunities and cyber
threats across the region. We have an esteemed
panel with us today, featuring experts
with a diverse array of backgrounds who
will be sharing their insights with you. I'm happy to say
that we also have lots of geographic
diversity on the panel, with speakers from Nigeria,
Mauritania, Zimbabwe, and the United States.

Joining us in the
studio is Moctar Yedaly, the head of the Information
Society Division at the African Union Commission. Moctar is a telecom satellite
and computer engineer with more than 20 years of
international experience in the field of
communication and networks management, resource evaluation,
and policy preparation. Also with us is
Fola Olatunji-David, Head of Startup
Success and Services for Google's Launchpad Africa. At Launchpad, Fola supports
early and seed stage startups with technology,
networks, and mentorship. He has worked in
technology-based roles, creating channels for tech
to interface with businesses in more than 10 countries. He now focuses on building an
African ecosystem that supports innovators and entrepreneurs. Our third panelist is
Elizabeth Vish, Policy Advisor in the Office of the Coordinator
for Cyber-issues at the U.S. Department of State. Elizabeth is responsible
for cyberpolicy engagement in sub-Saharan
Africa and for policy on capacity-building
engagement globally. Her team brings together
the many elements of the State Department
working on cyber issues.

And joining us from
Cambridge, Massachusetts is Taurai Chinyamakobyu,
Managing Director of FlowCash and Chief Operations
Officer at Loop Chat. FlowCash is a pan-African
payment gateway integrated with Africa's
mobile operators to enable online payments
for the Continent's largest airlines and
e-commerce businesses. Taurai was an inaugural 2014
Mandela Washington Fellow. He is interested in contemporary
tech-driven business models, as well as technology
transfer and innovation in Africa. I'd like to start off
by having each of you speak briefly about
your view on the growing tech and digital economy
landscape in Africa and how that intersects
with the work you do. Fola, let's start with you. MR. FOLA OLATUNJI-DAVID:
Good morning if you're joining
in the morning. Good afternoon if you're
joining in the afternoon. Obviously, good evening to
some parts of the Continent. Very excited to be
here and very excited about the growth of the startup
ecosystem on the Continent. A lot is being said right now
as to the opportunities that exist.

And what we've seen
is the Continent is the youngest continent if
you look at the average age. And with youth comes
a lot of energy. And what is being done
is this vibrant and smart young people are
finding that technology enables them to build
solutions that first can solve their local problems,
but can then be exported to solve
problems across the world. So in the work I do on my
day-to-day job at Google, we constantly find
this type of people who are building solutions
first for their local ecosystem, then for the Continent. We run an accelerator
that primarily identifies 12 startups on the Continent. We've done this for startups
from about 10 countries right now. And we work with them
in a three-month program to figure out how best can we
connect them to technology, but also business and
leadership life skills.

We know the role of
technology, but we also know that technology alone
does not make a great company. There are a lot of
complementary skills. But we're trying
to plug that gap. And we're trying to build
communities based off of this founders. We had some learnings
doing this over two years on the Continent. And I'm happy to share
that as the chat goes on. Thank you. MS. TUCKER: Thank you. Taurai, as an
entrepreneur and investor in an African tech
company, what can you share from your
experience that would be helpful for an early
stage entrepreneur looking to leverage new technologies
and services to grow their business? MR.

Thank you, Sadie, for having me on the show. And let me say good afternoon
or good morning, whatever your time is, wherever
you're listening from. To youths across
the Continent who are involved in the
technology space and trying to make a
difference in different areas of the economic
Space across Africa, so be it in the transports, the
logistics space, the finance, fintech, banking space,
the agricultural space, and many other areas that
youths are getting involved in, applying technology to make
life very different and a little more advanced for
different Africans in different countries. I've been in this
space for a while, and especially in the banking
technology and services space, including software as well. And it's a very
interesting space, especially if you're operating
from Africa, but also very difficult and complicated. And if an early
stage player, you need to have a lot of energy. You need to have a
supporting ecosystem. You need to have drive. And you also need finance
and venture capital to drive you along, because it's
very, very difficult to built a start up from scratch.

So and a supporting ecosystem
is very critical to the success of any tech entrepreneurs. Let me shout out to
those that are involved in the space across
the Continent while making a difference. Let me also acknowledge
my colleagues in Flowcash in different
parts of Africa, from Ethiopia to Nigeria,
Zimbabwe, Kenya, and so forth, and also a lot of
other players that are involved in the
business space [INAUDIBLE] and many other players
in different countries across Africa. It's a very big
continent, a lot of youths that are out there trying to
make a difference in many ways. And it's very important that
we acknowledge the hard work that they put in to
transform our continent. And thanks to the
U.S. State Department for having this conversation
so that we can discuss matters that have a huge
bearing on what will become of our youth over
the next 20 to 50 years. MS. TUCKER: Thank you. It's our great pleasure. Moctar, let me turn to you.

You bring a lot of
experience to this discussion with more than 20 years
working in the communications and networking industries. From your perspective
at the African Union, how can next
generation technologies and infrastructure,
such as 4G and 5G, going to bring new
opportunities for innovation? And how should entrepreneurs
position themselves to take advantage of this? MR. MOCTAR YEDALY: Thank
you, Sadie, for having me. And I'm here in Washington, DC. And as you said
at the beginning, I'm here to attend the
high level dialogue that will be starting tomorrow. I actually would like to
say thank you to everybody who was speaking before. The speakers before have
highlighted the issue of youth, the technology,
how the accelerators can help everybody.

But just let me emphasize on
one thing, very important, is technology, and
ICT in general, represent a great opportunity
for African continent. It is the opportunity
for Africans to leapfrog into the
21st century using ICT in each and every
sector, in education, health, transportation, a new
concept of energy producing and distributing, and so on. So from the African
Union point of view, having noted that it
is the opportunity for the African
continent, we have decided to build a strategy on– to draft a strategy
on the transformation, digital transformation,
of the Continent. The strategy has been developed
with the multi-stakeholder approach, with the
participation of everybody, from United Nations
institutions, the African governments,
and everybody. It has been adopted by the
ministers in charge of ICT and soon by the head
of state in January. How now these technologies,
and specifically the 4G, 5G, can help really to transform
the African continent and provide more of
the opportunities? It is actually very critical
to underline something, that at this point of
time, unfortunately, we still don't have
a full coverage of the on the 4G technology.

We will be starting with
the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa next
year to do some testing on 5G. But so far what
we can anticipate, the 5G would be really providing
the building infrastructure in each and every country
for each and every sector to really give the opportunity,
the platforms, for everybody to develop new applications,
to develop new businesses. And hopefully if we can
miss the steps of 4G and leapfrog into,
jump into, the 5G, we'll be ready to create
for entrepreneurs, for young people,
for the policymakers, for actual each sector an
opportunity to really use a new technology to
transform our education systems, our transportation
system, our health system, and so on.

MS. TUCKER: Thank you. Elizabeth, we've talked about
some of the key benefits entrepreneurs will see as
more advanced and widespread technology becomes the norm
in Africa's digital economy. But with these
opportunities come risks. Can you speak briefly about
why cybersecurity is critically important for
these entrepreneurs and how they should make this
a top priority at the earliest stages of the launching
of their businesses? MS. ELIZABETH VISH: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Sadie. And good morning, good
afternoon, and good evening to everybody. So yeah, I think, Sadie, you're
right that our colleagues have sort of highlighted the benefits
and the key, critical elements that digital technologies
can bring to the world, and to Africa, and to
individual entrepreneurs. Governments, and militaries,
and the private sector, and citizens all rely on
secure data to do their work. And all of this growth
is only possible if we can trust and
rely on the systems that we are using
to be innovative, that they are reliable, secure,
open, and interoperable. And so one thing that
we would highlight is that those with
poor cybersecurity pose a risk to everyone
else online, a weak link in a global cyberspace.

Accordingly, it's critical that
governments and private sector entities ensure that their
networks and information infrastructure are secure,
reliable, and resilient. So I'm going to highlight
a little bit about the U.S. policy. Under Executive Order
13-800 of May 2017 and the U.S. National Cyber
Strategy in September 2018, the U.S. outlines how we rely on
a globally secure and resilient cyberspace, and then how we
work with international partners to promote cybersecurity,
due diligence, and improve the security
of global networks.

The United States seeks
to achieve these goals through enhanced cooperation
on networks events, incident management capabilities
and recovery, supporting the development
of those capabilities where needed, and raising
awareness of the importance and value of cybersecurity due
diligence throughout society. For many nations the
term cybersecurity includes efforts to combat
cyber crime, to manage spam, and to protect children online. While the U.S. recognizes
that cybercrime is part of the broadest
sense of cybersecurity, we kind of have addressed
it separately in part because the two areas drawn
different kinds of expertise and also sort of raised
different– there are different solutions
to a cybercrime problem versus a cybersecurity problem.

We use this term
cybersecurity due diligence to talk about cybersecurity
best practices, how you respond
to incidents, how you set up your
networks in a way that they're going to be secure. And that's kind of a
little bit different than sort of also a
nation state, security, state-on-state security. So I would say the U.S. engages
a lot with partner governments in Africa. I've traveled out
quite often from– I'm based in the U.S.,
but I travel out. I was just with
Moctar, actually, at the Global Forum for
Cyber Expertise in Addis, which Moctar and the
African Union Commission hosted sort of this global
annual meeting focused on capacity building
and cyber issues.

So we have spon– in addition to
attending events, we've sponsored multiple
cybersecurity and cybercrime capacity-building workshops
throughout Africa, primarily focused on
a government audience, mostly because the government's
the entity that sort of sets the norms and standards. And also it's the entity
that can sort of make a big difference by engaging
citizens using the government's ability to reach
the whole country. So that's how we've
started our focus. We also, cybersecurity
is increasingly a program focus for
international organizations. The U.S. has been working
with Moctar and his team for, I think it's been, what, Moctar
nine years now, eight years, since– since my
team was formed? And before that, we were
working with the EU, just not in the current– with my current team.

And also remember
the Organization of American States,
which is highly prioritizing cybersecurity
best practices as well. MS. TUCKER: Thank you. Thank you so much. MS. VISH: So taking it back
to our audience, right? MS. TUCKER: Yes. MS. VISH: You know,
I talked a little bit about
government-to-government work, but focusing on our
audience, what can you do to keep
yourself cybersafe? I would say the biggest
thing is to educate yourself. We have a great public
awareness campaign in the U.S. It's called Stop,
Think, Connect. And you can find it. They're going to–
I think they're going to link the website. But if you literally
Stop.Think.Connect, you look that up, that
website should pop up. And there's tons of
cybersecurity tips on there, basic things like make sure
your software is current, make sure that you're
downloading updates, make sure it's a
licensed registered version of the software
so that you know that when a security hole is recognized
that your device gets patched.

Those are really basic,
important things to do. MS. TUCKER: Thank
you, Elizabeth. Those are very useful resources. And so in the interest of
moving the program along, because we have lots of
questions that are already coming in, I'd like to move on. So since we've
designed this program with the youth in
Africa in mind, our next question is, what
are the most in demand skills needed to boost and
protect Africa's growing digital economy? What steps should
our viewing audience take after this program to
develop skills or acquired knowledge that
will position them as tech leaders of the future? Fola, would you like to start? MR.

OLATUNJI-DAVID: Yes. So I think the first
skill is absolutely the ability to learn. So it's perhaps one of the
most undervalued skill, but being able to research
or being able to learn online is one skill I think our
viewers need to hone. You can do this– I often joke that just
being able to go on Google or any search
platform and say, how to do x, or, how
to learn xyz skill, and that's where
it all starts from.

When we think about
technology skills, oftentimes, people just think in
terms of software development. And they're right to some
extent because often development is a long process. And there's big value chain
for software development right from the
very beginning when you're thinking about
design, and user experience, and user interactions all the
way down to actual writing code or building user
interfaces, but even beyond that, so quality
assurance testing.

And then when you think
about digital skills, which is where I encourage
people to start from, there's a whole slew of
things you can do from there. So from digital
marketing, people think of just social media,
but it goes beyond that. So social media is great
because it essentially allows you to reach millions of
people from the tip of your– from the tip of your mobile
phone, or your mobile device, or your laptop. But you can take it a step back. You can ask yourself,
how do I take traditional businesses
that exist today, how do I take them online? And we have some tools
that are available online at

And we essentially take users
to that journey of learning how to take your business online,
how to create an online presence, and even
the ability to learn– that I spoke about earlier– research skills, how
to start from there. So technology is a
lifelong journey. There's almost nobody who
can tell you that they know everything as to technology. But the starting skill that
everybody needs to point is how to learn. And then from there, you can– the world is your
oyster, literally. MS. TUCKER: Excellent. Become a lifelong–
lifelong learner. OK. Taurai, do you have some ideas? MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU:
Yes, thank you. And it's very
important that Fola touched on the issue
of lifelong learning. You could look at the issue
from two perspectives– two perspectives, the first
one being broadly speaking, I would say that all
skills are very important.

Let's not lose sight of the fact
that the purpose of technology is simply to make
efficient the things that we try to do every day. It could be moving
from point A to B, or it would be
running a business, or you could be
doing social things. And all technology
does is to make sure that we do that efficiently. And when you move whatever
we do into digital space, technology makes us
do it in a better way. So broadly speaking, the most
important skill in my opinion, over and above the fact that
you should be able to learn, is problem-solving skills.

I could put that across as
critical-thinking skills. Once you understand
how to solve problems, technology can then help you to
bring it in the digital space and solve those problems. So critical thinking skills,
problems-solving skills are very important. That's broadly speaking. But when we come to how do we
get our businesses, our youth, our systems, our economies
into the digital space, it's important to have the
right engineering skills that help digitize whatever
solutions, whatever ways in which we're trying
to solve those problems. To bring them into
the digital space, we need the right the
engineering skills.

And it's a very tricky
problem to solve. And it takes a very
broad perspective in trying to solve it. So we have to have the
right policies in place. That is from a
policymaking perspective. We have to have the
right education in place. Our skills must be tooled– our schools must be tooled
and configured well enough to be able to deliver the
right digital skills that are appropriate for
a digital economy.

And then over and
above that, we must have the supporting
infrastructure to help deliver those
skills that we require. The other side of the equation,
which is a more narrow one, is within our businesses, or
within our ecosystems where we build problem-solving,
entrepreneurial solutions, it's important for people to
be able to build partnerships and collaborate in
a manner that help– that helps to build
the digital ecosystem and let it evolve
in a manner that helps to plug all different– you know, the different
kind of loopholes that we face in the transition
from an analogy economy to a digital economy.

So we have to look from
a broad perspective– from a broad perspective and
then a narrow perspective– MS. TUCKER: Taurai. MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU:
–and then try to bridge the gap between
those two perspectives. MS. TUCKER: Taurai,
thank you so much. You've shared so much. And we're already– we
have so many questions. Unfortunately, we can't
have all of the panelists answer this question. However, we're going
to get into some of those other issues, policy
issues, and other things later on in the program. But let's turn now and
take some questions from our online viewers,
the first of which is coming from the American
Space in Kano, Nigeria. The question is, how can
technology help entrepreneurs in Africa penetrate the markets
outside of the continent? And we can– would any of you
like to take that question? MR.

YEDALY: I could. MS. TUCKER: Moctar, perhaps? MR. YEDALY: Yes, yes. MS. TUCKER: Yeah. MR. YEDALY: One of the
things, first of all, just before moving
to the question, skills, building
skills, in the Continent is one of the pillar of
our digital transformation strategy of our building. That address the first question. Now mind you that in
the digital space, there is no really such
thing as a boundary, The space is open. MS. TUCKER: No
boundaries, mm-hmm. MR. YEDALY: Most–
it's an open space. And most of time
what you need really is to be able to
penetrate the market, that is to create what we call
the enabling environment in the Continent, specifically,
we do now have the CFTA– MS. TUCKER: OK. MR. YEDALY: –that
is actually, has been adopted by the member states. And most of the
country have actually ratifying it, which facilitate
the penetrations of each and every country with
regard to the market itself.

But in the same time, we, within
digital transformation strategy and with the African
Union policy with regard to the mobility and the
integration of the , that will be really facilitating
the– and create the bedrock for the innovation and the
penetration of the markets in each and every country. MS. TUCKER: Excellent. Thank you. So let's move on
to another question that we have from the American
Center in Windhoek, Namibia. The question is,
what technologies can have the most impact
in connecting entrepreneurs with services and
clients in Africa? And I'm going to have Fola– Fola, would you mind
answering that question? MR. OLATUNJI-DAVID:
Sure, absolutely. So I think the first
technology, and something that has really transformed the
world, has been the internet. The power that the
internet provides is the ability to sit in
Namibia and to speak directly to somebody halfway
across the world, or all the way across the world. And– but the next power
is mobile technology. So the mobile phone has
such deep penetrative reaches right now that some
places where you do not have access to water or even
electricity have mobile phones where people charge with solar.

So I think when
you harness both, so both the internet on one hand
to learn and to put yourselves out there, and then you harness
the power of mobile, the fact that my grandmother
is on Whatsapp and everybody can
connect and communicate, I think there's a lot of
magic that can happen. So I think, for me,
it would be think about how your solution
can be mobile first. And then think about how
you can use the internet to learn to earn. So even there's a lot of
movement on the Continent around fintech right now. So, and the real reason why
this is happening is people need a way to earn money. So as you've pushed
your solution, just push on the internet
and think, mobile first. MS. TUCKER: Thank you, Fola. This question is coming from a
gentleman by the name of Mike. And I'm going to have
Elizabeth answer this one. It says, advances in
sophistication of cyber attacks has shaped the industry so much
so that conventional solutions are inadequate.

Looking at the technology
landscape of Africa, do you think we're
anywhere close to embracing innovative tech as i.e.,
machine learning, et cetera? And I open that to
Elizabeth as well as anyone else on the panel– Moctar is shaking his head– that would like
to– to chime in. But we'll start with Elizabeth. Elizabeth, are you on mute? MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU:
She's on mute. MS. VISH: Good catch. All right. Thanks. Sorry. So I would say I think
conventional solutions still have a lot to offer.

And what I would say is
our– our recommendation is that African governments,
and American governments, and American companies,
and African companies all make sure that we start by
doing the basic cybersecurity practices. There are still know hundreds
of thousands of devices out there that don't get
regular software updates. And that's– I'm a little
bit sometimes guilty of that, right? I will see the little reminder,
please update your software. And I'll take a few days
before I download that update. And those kinds of basic
things are actually the foundation of
being able to access digital technology safely. So I would encourage African
participants, everybody who uses technology,
to really make sure that you are thinking
about the best practices. And then I would encourage
you to also reach out and work with your customers, work
with your family members, work with people in
your neighborhood, and also work with your
government to make sure that solutions are being
implemented broadly. Um, and– MS. TUCKER: Thank
you, Elizabeth. And I hate to cut you
off, but I definitely want to make sure that
Moctar has a chance to answer this question.

MR. YEDALY: No, no. I just want to quickly say
that first of all, Africa is ready to use those
kind of technology like artificial
intelligence and so on. And the proof of that, that
the minister has two weeks ago have requested us to
create an African group on artificial intelligence, and
we are actually doing that one. We already created
an expert group on cybersecurity, advisor
group on cybersecurity. It's composed of
[INAUDIBLE] experts from all over the
actually to advise the African Union on the
policy and how to put, really to start addressing
these new challenges with regard to the sophisticates
attacked and so on. So basically we are ready. However, as Elizabeth
mentioned, it is also required a
lot of contribution from the ground,
meaning attacks each and everybody has to feel
responsible for actually really addressing the
matter of cybersecurity.

Cybersecurity start
by the– from us first before going really
into the community in general. MS. TUCKER: Thank you. Thank you. So now we're going to
take another question. This one is from
the American Space in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. The question is, how do you
support young tech innovators at an early stage
of their businesses when they have no funds? And I think we
talked a little bit– I think, Taurai, you spoke a
little bit about this earlier.

Would you like to answer– give a response
to this question? MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU: Yes,
let me jump in on that. It's a very
interesting question. And it's interesting that
it's coming from Tanzania, because I've been on– at a number of
accelerators in Tanzania talking about different
technology, including blockchain. Funding is a very
critical resource for an entrepreneurs trying
to get into the digital space.

There are established
ways in which this issue has been addressed
in different parts of the world. So for example in the U.S., they
have a very good combination in the venture
capital space, also in the startup space,
where you have VC combined very well with
the academic ecosystem, as well as legal infrastructure
that helps start ups that are actually starting. But this is not well evolved
on the African continent. And it's very important
now for us to think about– think carefully about
how to help people who are in the early stage
of evolving their businesses and how they can be supported. There are many ways through
which this can be done. One of the ways I have done that
myself is through NGO funding. So I kind of look for
early stage ventures that require financial support.

And then we go in
there and see how we can refine the
business model, and give them a bit
of funding and support and build their
capacity along the way. But there's also
a very evolving– there's also an evolving
mechanism for finance. It's purely early stage where
we're finding a lot of VCs that are looking at Africa
as an area where there is a very good– good crop
of early stage ventures that could be supported. So I've seen a lot
of people going into that space in
Nigeria, in Kenya. And there are venture capital
companies like Savannah Funds, [INAUDIBLE] have
a business school and they are going to
Africa from other countries, actually, to start VC ventures. So we have to think
about NGO funding. Those people who have capacity
and [INAUDIBLE] funds, how can we facilitate
and get them to go in and help
early stage ventures? Then the big funds that are
out there that might be willing take some risk at
a small scale, how can they work
collaboratively with VC funds around the African
continent and are helping early stage ventures? But more importantly,
governments need to come in too and set up funds from
their national budgets where they can support
early stage ventures? MS.

TUCKER: Excellent. Excellent. Yes, thank you so much for that. We're going to move to
the next question, which comes to us from the American
Center in Lusaka, Zambia. The question is what
is the African Union– so this question is
for you, Moctar– what's the African Union doing
to build capacity among women entrepreneurs, the majority of
whom cannot effectively utilize the internet to sell
their goods online? MR. YEDALY: That's an
excellent question, and I must say
that's something is– not really has– nothing
has been done specifically to assist those
women who can not able to access the internet. In fact, the African Union
is still at the higher level by creating the
enabling environment by putting in place a
cybersecurity convention, the EU convention cybersecurity
and personal data protection, developing this strategy
and specifically promoting what we call the
crowdfunding in order to make sure that every youth
and woman is accessing to that. The issue we have been
facing all the time is the access, people,
women, and people who are not really educated or
do not have these skills, how we can promote those people
to give them, you know, opportunity first of all
to access, because once you access, the issue
become very easy.

Now the issue of access is now
one of the challenges, biggest challenges we are facing. We are developing at
this point of time what we call the approach
for infrastructure corridors to make sure that rural
and remote areas are kind of deserving with
opportunity, access to energy, to access to roads,
to access to internet. And we are using
the postal sector as part of the
financial inclusion also to make sure that the
postal offices are actually the center for
everything in terms of developing digital economy. And when I say
digital economy, it's the broader sense,
meaning streamlining ICT in each and every sector.

Those are the things that we
are taking into consideration. But definitively, the issue of
woman is in the heart of the– our concern. And we hope by addressing
the surrounding issues we may be able
to reach that point at a certain point of time. MS. TUCKER: Just one follow on. So I'm understanding you
to mean that the postal– like, the post office, would
serve as maybe an internet cafe of sorts? MR. YEDALY: No, it's build– not only an internet cafe, MS. TUCKER: OK. MR. YEDALY: It will be the
center to help people to access e-commerce, [INAUDIBLE]
electronic transaction, a center for e-learning, center
specifically for e-government services– MS. TUCKER: Excellent, OK. MR. YEDALY: –meaning
death certificate, declaration– even find
the health services. Is monitoring all
those epidemic that can happen, such as Ebola,
and so on, to make sure– that is our strategy
for the postal sector.

The postal sector is
transforming itself from just pushing letters and
parcel to something really become a government center in
specifically remote and rural areas. MS. TUCKER: Thank you. Thank you very much. OK. And so now we're going
to move to this question from the American Center
in Bujumbura, Burundi. The question is,
how can technology contribute to improving
educational systems in Africa where internet access is
very low in many countries? And I think– I recall earlier that there
was mention of this education policy, et cetera. Would anyone like
to answer this one? Taurai? MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU: I can– yeah. So when– when we talk about
technological innovation and similarly complex things
like cybersecurity and so forth, we– we think about very
advanced forms of technology, like machine learning,
artificial intelligence, and so forth. But we could use technology
to actually solve common sense issues, very simple issues,
by leveraging technology to automate a lot
of thing that we do. For example, they already
established models on how to deal with that.

We have education
that's being delivered through the internet, solutions
such as the Khan Academy. We have models such as
MOOCs that are delivered all over the internet. And I– I– I– I've, in the past
few years, have had a professor who teaches
at a very high end school, but delivers one of
the largest attended digital online courses attended
by about 8 million people each time he's
delivering that course. And this course is available
to anybody all over the world as long as they can
access the internet. Now earlier Fola
mentioned the issue that Africa needs to
focus on mobile first. How can we leverage
the high utilization of mobile technology
to bring education to the remotest of places? Everybody seems to have a mobile
phone of one type or another. And if we are able to
deliver or build platforms where people can access, with
support from governments, can access knowledge,
even if it doesn't have to be in a
formal school, then we're most likely to be
able to deliver education to the most difficult
parts across the continent.

So let's not look at technology
as those complex elements of it. But let's look at technology
as the common sense solutions around how we solve the
most simple problems. So forget about cybersecurity
as a complex issue. Forget about machine learning. Forget about artificial
intelligence. How can we just use technology
to make delivery of education efficient? And I would like to cite this
specific example in Zimbabwe, where one of the
mobile operators there runs an online learning
platform called [INAUDIBLE]..

And that's a common sense way
of using mobile technology to solve a problem. And this is found in many
parts all across the Continent. But we need to
demystify technology and say, how does it so everyday
problems in a commonsense way? And that's the best
way to think about how we can use tech to innovate
around education across Africa. MS. TUCKER: Thank you, Taurai. Would any of the
other panelists like to respond or add
to what we've heard? Moctar? MR. YEDALY: I– I think I just
concur with what has been said previously and I support that. MS. TUCKER: All right. Well, let's move on to
the next question, which comes from the American
Center in Lusaka, Zambia. Says, looking at the
issue of unemployment in Africa, what
guarantee is there that young people
in Africa will still have jobs if the majority
of jobs are moved online? MR.

pexels photo 3194519

Can Moctar do that? MR. OLATUNJI-DAVID: I
think I can chime in there. MS. TUCKER: Moctar, would
you like to take that one? MR. YEDALY: Yes,
I would just say that I don't think that it
will be any concern really about the computer
taking over the jobs. We don't have to be
really scared of that. Actually, it will be
a great opportunity. What's going to happen is the
transformation of our jobs. If the computer tomorrow
will be the one taking care of the cleaning,
for instance, of the solar panel somewhere
to make that efficiency better, the person who will be really
maintaining the robot itself or the computer itself
is the one actually who will be really
transforming his job. He– people will be moving from
cleaning positions or positions that will be filled by human
beings replaced by computers and robots but the human beings
will be doing another job. And you remember in the '70s we
are saying that computer would be taking over the job, and
nothing happened, because we still control and everything.

MS. TUCKER: OK. MR. YEDALY: Bottom line is
if we develop our skills, if our approach at the
national, continental level is an approach where we
develop skills really and to transform our jobs and
our self into something else, we don't have to worry
about job creation. Actually, we'll be having
great opportunities. MS. TUCKER: So greater– MR. YEDALY: More
than we have now. MS. TUCKER: OK,
greater opportunities. Fola, I think I heard you. Were you the one who wanted
to respond to this question as well? MR. OLATUNJI-DAVID: Yes. Yes, I wanted to. But I think Moctar has
stated it brilliantly. Essentially, jobs will evolve. And when you think about some of
the top jobs that exist today, especially in tech, they did
not exist 30, 40 years ago. And so as we look at the future,
we have to adapt to the future and evolve with the future. So I don't think it's a concern. But it's– it's something that
can be solved by learning, because beyond that,
when you adapt, there's higher opportunity to
earn more and to live a better life. MS. TUCKER: Excellent.

MS. VISH: One thing I
might jump in and say is that cybersecurity skills
are extremely portable, and they also don't
necessarily require you to be physically present
where you are doing the work. So Africans who can get training
through things like MOOCs or online courses in
cybersecurity actually have vast employment potential. And so I would encourage
people who are young and who are looking for a career
that would allow them to earn money on a global scale in terms
of salaries that are globally scaled to think about
cybersecurity training. And that might
lead to a job where you might be working
from your home village and working for a major
multinational corporation that needs people who are
talented and can be online. MS. TUCKER: Excellent. Thank you, Elizabeth. And that's a nice segue into
our next question, which comes from a viewer
who is asking about global companies
like Google, and Facebook, and Amazon outsourcing more
software development to Africa.

What sort of potential
OK, I can jump in. MS. TUCKER: Sure. MR. OLATUNJI-DAVID: I
think one– one theory that has been tested
in past few years is that talent is
spread across the world. It's the opportunity that
isn't spread as much. And what has
started to happen is there's global companies
realize that there are brilliant people on– in– in the
Continent and who can build quality software,
and not just software development, other skills. And what you're going
to continue to see is that some of these
companies will open up offices on the Continent to work. But for me as an
African, primarily, I am more interested
in what can we also build and export to the
Continent, to the world– first to the Continent
and to the world, because it will
continue to happen.

If you look at the way
industrialization has happened and globalization happened,
when people build, they start to think about
what else can we export? And as Africans, I ask, what
can you build and export? We've seen this happen in music. We've seen this
happen in sports. So how do we apply
this to technology? So we're seeing increased
activity on the continent, but it– it's just a testament to the
fact that we have the talent. And if– I'm encouraging people
that wherever– whatever corner of the continent
you're building from, there is an opportunity to show
the world that you have it. MS. TUCKER: Thank you. And this– this question
here from the American Corner in Windhoek, Namibia, it's going
back to the 4G, 5G question. What can we expect regarding 4G,
5G digital upgrades for Africa in 2020? Moctar, would you like
to answer that one.

MR. YEDALY: And I mentioned
at the beginning, we will be– start the first testings in 10
countries, you know, by 2020. That will be led mainly by
the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa with
the cooperation of three– with the collaboration with
the African Union Commission and other institution. What will be really
expected is really how fast can we start deploying
really the technology, but consequently,
applications that are really relevant to African
continent for the job creation, for businesses, and so on? So that– the
fundamental question, can we really pass from 2, 3G
as we do it now, to really 5G, and probably even start
thinking about 6G if necessary? That is the fundamental
question that we are now.

And that's other than the issue
of investment, infrastructure, standards, and
[FRENCH] specifically the issue of security. MS. TUCKER: OK, and there
is actually a follow on to this which is, how
can governments and service providers use trusted partners
in the process of developing 5G networks? MR. YEDALY: The issue is
trust is very important. And we cannot use just any
technology in any conditions. That why the– when
Elizabeth was mentioning the issue of cybersecurity, it
is very important, before start really jumping into those
new apps, new technology, new infrastructure,
whatever it, it is relevant and
important to make sure that we have built
our skills in how to create the condition
for really to create the trust in the cyberspace. Cybersecurity is a key.

And then from there we see
what kind of applications we can actually adopt. MS. TUCKER: Thank you. This question here from U.S.
Embassy Dakar in Senegal. Is the African Union ready
to shape and harmonize digital regulation
across Africa if we know that African countries
have different rules and regulations? MR. YEDALY: And we have
started actually to build that. We now have now– we are running a
program for what we call the Policy
and Regulation Initiative for
Digital Africa beta, we have started the
harmonization process by having in each and
every country a focal point from the policymaker area
and from the regulatory, and we are associating the
Association of Regulators.

We are building a
digital platform. [INAUDIBLE] a very
advanced design, whereby we will be using AI and
machine learning to make sure that all policies
currently existing are being kind of
harmonized, at least a grouping into
two or three areas that will allow us really to
harmonize and have a reference framework for harmonization
for our policy and regulation. But at the same time for the
new challenges and new policy, we are really creating the
framework for everybody to be converging to that one
and to harmonize our policy and regulations. So yes, we are ready. And we have started.

And hopefully by 2022 we will
be able really to set up. At least 60%, 70% of our
policy will be harmonized. And policy and regulation
will be harmonized. MS. TUCKER: Harmonization
by 2022, OK. All right. And so this question from
Susan at American Center, Kigali in Rwanda. She asks, how do you make sure
the best talent, especially from interior regions
of Africa, are included in this digital ecosystem? Fola, would you like to
kick us off with an– with a response to that one? MR. OLATUNJI-DAVID: Yes. So it's interesting that the
question is coming from Kigali. We were actually in Kigali
about three weeks ago and saw amazing
talent from that part. And it's– it's the same story
that we've seen everywhere we've gone on the continent.

People are working, and
people are learning. One key tenet of
the work that we do and the work that I continue
to advocate for is community. And that's why this opportunity
to be part of this talk is very, very important. Communities allow us to
leverage our strengths and to cover our weaknesses. And that's what I
encourage people that when you have
your talent, find like-minded people
in your community so that as opportunities
come up you hear about them. So the– the– the benefit of
technology is it allows you to work and to build
your community even beyond your local
environment, so even beyond the physical place
that you might live.

So we have Google
developer groups where people who are passionate
about Google technology and other technology meet up. And what then starts to happen
is as opportunities bubble up, they, the members of
these communities learn. And so it's the same where
you have groups online, so maybe Facebook groups. Maybe you have Google Groups. I would encourage people
that find like-minded people, and as opportunities bubble
up, you would learn together. What also tends to happen is
when you're in a community, the average intelligence
of that group is increased because there
is knowledge sharing. There's an opportunity
to learn from your peer. So peer mentorship happens. So that's what I would say. People who are looking
at opportunity, it doesn't matter what part
of the continent or what part of the Earth you're on. Personally, I learned the
most software [INAUDIBLE] I learned in a remote
part of Jigawa State.

Jigawa State is in
northern Nigeria. And I was there
for a few months. And that's where I
learned the most, because I had a community. So I would encourage people
to find the community and work together
with that community. MS. TUCKER: Excellent. And interesting you
mention Nigeria. We actually have a question
from the U.S. Embassy. It's a two-part question
from two different missions. U.S. Embassy Harare in Zimbabwe
and the American Center in Abuja, Nigeria
ask these questions. How can we use technology
to shape the African market in order to promote sales
of agricultural products in Africa and around the world? And the second question is, can
you share some methods, tools– methods, and/or tools used
in enhancing productivity in agriculture? MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU: I'd
like to chime in on that. It's a very interesting
question and something that I'm writing
a bit on because of the complexity
of bringing trade across the African continent. But a lot of
fundamental issues are beginning to change that
provide a very good opportunity towards solving that problem.

One of those is, how do we
enhance intracontinental trade, as in trade amongst
African countries? And a lot of that
has been addressed through the issue of the
AFCTA, which has just come to life following the
ratification of the Continental Free Trade Agreement, the
fundamental problem around that being the fact that
there's so little trade happening amongst
African countries. Yet African countries
struggle a lot to trade with countries
outside the continent. So the way of solving that
is to leverage technology to enable trade amongst
African countries. So how does a farmer in Zambia
trade with people or markets in Angola? And people in the
world, how do they trade with people to the
south in Namibia and so forth? How can we encourage that? So we have the fundamental
infrastructure, still problematic but
evolving and getting solved through policy
solutions such as the AFCTA.

But entrepreneurs
themselves needs to have drive and focus
on how to explore and look for those markets and how
to collaborate with people across different
national boundaries to then figure out ways through
which their products can be shipped across
national boundaries. But it's not a complicated
problem to solve. If we can export our
cultural products to Europe, it must not be so complicated
for a Zambian trade with someone in the Congo or for
a Kenyan trading with somebody in Uganda. It should not be rocket science. So technology needs to
come in to solve or bridge that gap, which is why I'm
saying we shouldn't look at tech as the complexity that
comes with fourth Industrial Revolution and all complex terms
like cybersecurity or machine learning and so forth. How do we just break down those
barriers so across the border we can actually do trade? MS. TUCKER: Right,
right, exactly. And use the ubiquitous
force as an enabler across multiple sectors. Moctar, Fola,
would either of you like to– to weigh
in on this one? MR.

YEDALY: Yes, I would
just want to say something. MS. TUCKER: Moctar, OK. MR. YEDALY: [INAUDIBLE]
as has been mentioned, is addressing the issue
of intra-African trade. Second, there is now currently
many initiatives specifically coming from the
Universal Postal Union, where we are creating
what we call the eAfrica Platform for E-commerce. And it has been really
supported by many countries. The objective is to
make sure that we create a digital platform for Africans,
entrepreneurs, sellers, buyers, and to really do an
intra-Africa e-commerce. And hopefully by
next year the project will be actually launched. And it would make
sure that we have created the platform for
Africans to really do intra-African trade.

MS. TUCKER: Great. Fola, did you want
to add anything before we move on to
the next question? MR. OLATUNJI-DAVID:
No, I'm good. Thank you. [INAUDIBLE] MS. TUCKER: OK. All Right. OK. So we'll move to
the next question. Viewer asks, and this, I
think, is for you, Elizabeth, we look at a cyber– we look at cybersecurity
as a threat of individual criminal actors. What about large-scale power,
such as a hostile state acting to push their agenda? Should we prepare for
large scale attacks? MS. VISH: Yeah, thank you. That– that's a
fascinating question. So the short version
is that there have been a number of
state-sponsored malicious cyber acts. We– we tend to be careful
about the word attack. So we tend to talk about
malicious cyber activity. But in 2018, the U.S. attributed
a number of malicious cyber acts to foreign
governments, specifically WannaCry and NotPetya So there have been examples
of malicious state-sponsored activity.

And those have been– led to widespread
destruction, I think hundreds of millions of dollars
in the case of NotPetya. We're at the United Nations
working very carefully to encourage a three-fold
framework for responsible state behavior in cyberspace. And this has been agreed to
in a number of UN processes, including the UN group of
governmental experts in 2015, that sort of outlines
a three-part– three part framework for what
is a responsible state activity and how governments should
be conducting themselves in cyberspace. And the first is the affirmation
that international law applies in cyberspace. The second is a set of
commonly agreed norms for what states should and
should not do in cyberspace. An example of a norm
is states should not sponsor cyber attacks against
critical infrastructure in peacetime. These are voluntary, non-binding
norms that responsible states should follow. And then the third
is the value of practical
confidence-building measures in assuring that stability
happens in cyberspace. So these are things like
exchanging points of contact. So if one government
sees something happening in their networks that
they're concerned about, they can reach out to
a point of contact in– in another government, perhaps
where the territory of origin is of those attacks and tell
them, we're seeing this.

We see it as problematic. Can you please work
with us to address it? So that's the international
frameworks for cyber stability. We do think that
there are governments that haven't sought to sort
of follow that framework. And so we would
encourage all governments to think about what we should
do in response to that. And we've done a number
of collective responses where we've said, you know, this
activity was not acceptable. And we, as a group
of governments, are standing against
it and saying that it's not the
kind of actions that a state should take.

you, Elizabeth. Now this question from
the American Space in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. The question is, how can
technology help people with disabilities in Africa? MR. YEDALY: Actually
a very good question. MS. TUCKER: Moctar. MR. YEDALY: And actually it's
one of the thing that is– we are also trying
to address along with the issue related to
women and to children also in the same time. We believe that those
people are facing challenges in terms of
daily conducting lives, et cetera, need really to be
provided with opportunities with technology. And that is developing
our local applications, African applications,
with the specific contents to help those sisters and
brothers to be able to use, to access, and contribute to
the digital economy in general. So for that, the
framework has been developed within the
African Union Commission. And it is waiting for
a way to implement it from [INAUDIBLE] point of
view and from really adherence of the national
government to make that applications,
all those programs, effective in the countries.

MS. TUCKER: Great. MR. OLATUNJI-DAVID: I think– I want to– MS. TUCKER: Yes, Fola? MR. OLATUNJI-DAVID: Yes. I just wanted to chime in that
when you think about disability and you think about
accessibility of the solutions that people build,
one thing that is key is the empathy that
is required to build. So disability comes
in different formats. It's not just
physical disability. Sometimes it's in
learning disability. Sometimes it's in just
geographical disability, where they live and what not. So one cool thing
that I encourage people is when they're
building solutions, so people who are privileged
to learn how to build, always try to build from the
perspective of somebody who's living with disability. I encourage diversity. And we bake this into
some of our actions. So how do you make
sure that you're bringing diverse viewpoints? Obviously, there there's things
like text-to-speech for people who have visual impairment. There's things like ability to
dictate for people who cannot read and write. But other than that, how
do you build language? So for example
there are people who build apps in just English
where English is not predominantly spoken in
parts of the continent.

So when we think about
disability, a lot of empathy is required. And so technology,
while being a tool, should be used with
a lot of empathy. That's just what
I wanted to add. MS. TUCKER: Thank you very much. This question comes from
a viewer by the name of [INAUDIBLE]. The viewer asks,
what measures can be put in place to manage
intellectual property issues in the digital space? IPR. That's a very complex topic. MR. YEDALY: Indeed. MS. TUCKER: Moctar,
you're shaking your head. Would you like to take this one? MR. YEDALY: No,
actually this is one of the– actually one of
the biggest issues what we do have in Africa. And specifically, most
of the time people think that we are a net
consumer of softwares and the contents of that kind. But in fact, most of our
initiatives and creativity has been taken away and
simply because there is no specific rule in the
digital world, first of all, in general agreed
to protect that. But at the same time in–
within the African context, it has not been
properly addressed.

The African Union actually has
developed within the framework science and technology
and research framework for actually
intellectual property. That is also being addressed. However, we need to make sure
that also at the national level issue has been taken care
of, the rights, rules are being put in place. We haven't put a
mechanism through which the African country can really
collectively address in case or there is misuse
of any creativity from the African continent
to really address it at the international level. However, the
mechanism actually is being discussed among
the different actors and stakeholders to
make sure that we are protecting the African
heritage creativities and talent in general.

But it's an ongoing
process, if I may say that. MS. TUCKER: Yes, OK, ongoing. Any of the other
panelists interested? MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU: Yeah, I
wanted to comment on that. MS. TUCKER: Sure. MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU: It's a very
complex topic, especially given that for many of
us in Africa, we are driven a lot by
the spirit of Ubuntu, which means that we
like to share a lot and we are not that much
predisposed to protecting intellectual property rights. But it's also important to
note that if we observe what's happening across
the globe, we see a lot of fights over
intellectual property rights [INAUDIBLE] Samsung
and Myspace and so forth. And we don't see that happening
in the African digital space precisely because our
people, our entrepreneurs, have not been aggressive in
protecting the innovations and protecting their
intellectual property. That said, I think the
points that Moctar has made are very important in the
sense that the policy, and also the legal and
infrastructure environment needs to be supportive
of the protection of intellectual property
innovations and rights.

I am aware that we
have some organizations such as the African Regional
Intellectual Property Organizations, ARIPO, which are
headquartered in [INAUDIBLE].. But we also need to
dig deeper and find out if they are actually
attuned to dealing with intellectual
property rights that are necessary in the
digital ecosystem. So just registering trademarks
and copyrights is not enough. How do we deal with
registering and protecting digital innovation
design and things that relate to the technology
and digital ecosystem? So it's very important
that we approach the issue from a cultural
perspective ecosystem and holistic perspective as well
as the behavior of innovators that are in digital space. Once we are able to protect our
intellectual property right, it is then possible to
commercialize it and generate economic rents out
of [INAUDIBLE].. MS. TUCKER: Great, great. It makes me–
you're saying this, and it's– it's– it's making
me think that you should have a catchy phrase for this in
the same way that Fola shared the idea of– the importance of learning.

You know, it's also
important to fight for your intellectual rights. With that, we'll move
to a question that's coming from an individual by
the name of Ellie [INAUDIBLE] at the American
Center in Kigali. This person asks,
usually most technology comes from the same country,
which normally is developed, not a developing country. So how do you think that
African countries could have the capacity of
creating new technology to be used all over the world? MR. YEDALY: We've
already started that. MS. TUCKER: Moctar. MR. YEDALY: [INAUDIBLE]
for instance is an African
initiative that is now being replicated not only
in Africa but also outside. The mobile payment
started in Africa, really, and most of the issues
people don't know of, the tangible or not
tangible initiatives all really started from Africa.

The whole issue of the, for
instance, the World Information Society, which led to the
issue of internet governance and cyber governance
and everything is African initiatives. We have the tendency not
really to promote what we do. But Africans have done
a lot, have contributed, and they are able to contribute. Most of our youth have
developed applications, tablets. There is an African
tablet that has been created, a lot of things. But again, the only issue
is that African capability of promoting itself,
promoting what they have done, and protecting it. That's the challenge
we are having. But I can go and provide a
list of things that really that have been created in Africa and
sold outside of the continent. But again, this has
been sold really by the individuals or the
group that have created them and haven't given, you
know, the whole recognition from the entire continent. That is the issue we have
to really to address.

really the capability of Africans to create something,
to make it international, that is there. MS. TUCKER: OK,
so the marketing. MR. YEDALY:
[INAUDIBLE] marketing, part of the equation. MS. TUCKER: OK. Taurai, I am familiar with
some interesting developments in Zimbabwe along these lines. Did you want to add anything
in response to this question? MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU: Yeah. Absolutely, absolutely. Well, the one interesting
way to look at it is to say that we have a
lot of challenges in Africa.

There are a billion
people on the continent, but every day they have to
deal with a lot of challenges. So one way to look
at innovations that come from
outside the continent is to look at them as
solutions to problems that people outside of the
continent were trying to solve. Now if we come back
to the continent and say we have a billion
people, 54, 55 countries, and they have challenges
to solve, how can we solve those challenges that
are leveraging technology, we'll find that we'll come
up with unique solutions that address our problem– our problems. So that would be in this space
of fintech, power generation. It could be logistics
and transport space, food production, health,
education, and so forth. They are problems that are
unique to the Continent and require unique
Continental problems. So a solution that we would
deploy in the United States may not be very appropriate
for a problem that is unique to Rwanda,
Uganda, and Tanzania. So what is critical is for us to
say, what problem are we facing and how do we leverage existing
know how to build a solution that solves that
specific problem? If we do that, then we build
an evolving, but also relevant, innovative space that solves
unique African problems.

So there's a lot of tech in
different spaces that we– that's already built. And
the best way to look at it is it's a utility. So semiconductors,
for example, we don't need to be saying
redo the semiconductor industry in Africa because
it's a problem that's solved. But how do we deal
with the problems, the everyday problems,
that we face? Fintech problems,
how do we create solutions that take away all
the friction in payments, right? You don't need to
be in the U.S., or you don't need to be
in Europe, or in Japan, or in China to do that.

We already have problems. And I am glad that Moctar raised
the issue of mobile payments, because we're trying to
address an existing problem. So if we focus on
that issue of what is the problem we're
trying to solve and how do we leverage the
technology elsewhere, bring it home, and then
develop solutions that make our own systems efficient,
then we are right on the money if we do that. MS. TUCKER: Thank you. And this question
is from Fadi from– or Tadi, perhaps– I apologize if the
pronunciation is off– from the American Center
in Kigali, Rwanda. This person asks, can
you share information about YALI, the YALI
network and what they are doing with young entrepreneurs? And so I can speak a
little bit about that. What I can say is that we have
a YALI network that our viewing audience can join by visiting
our website,

The YALI network
provides members with invaluable
opportunities to connect with other leaders
in their community and to learn from
experts in their fields. Currently, the hashtag
#YALIEntrepreneursCampaign is helping members take
the business ventures from an idea to a reality,
which is part of the– which– which. Excuse me. This next question is, which
parts of the digital landscape are the policymakers
overlooking? We've talked a little
about– a little bit about policy impediments
and opportunities for modification of policies. And so I threw that
question out to you. I believe it was Fola
touched upon this. Moctar, of cause–
of course– touched upon this, as well as Taurai. So I'll leave it to– I'll let Moctar start
with that one [INAUDIBLE].. MR. YEDALY: One of
the things I believe. And [INAUDIBLE] again, my– my experience on
this is actually kind of, how can I say, empiric. To me, one of the thing that is
really missing or overlooking most– in most of the country
the fact that the digital economy can bring something, can
make a difference, when the– most of our country,
they are trying to apply analog
policies, if I may say, to the digital world, analog
rules to the digital rules, which is actually
one of the thing that I think it is
not helping really to look at the
whole policy related to the development
of digital economy.

We don't think that yet we
need to transform our education system by using ICTs. The MOOC system, for
instance, is not really considered something
that has been addressed by the government
as a policy at all. But it's addressed individually. The digital health? Same thing. The digital agriculture? Same thing. So there is different areas in
which really the policymakers are not applying
the real, how can I say, energy to develop
the digital economy. So it's an overall situation,
but not really a specific kind of things. MS. TUCKER: Mm-hmm. Thank you. MR. YEDALY: [INAUDIBLE] MS. TUCKER: Taurai? MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU: Hi, yes. It's a– it's an issue that's a
little bit complicated to just hone in on what Moctar said.

The policy side of things
has been very slow to evolve. And that's natural
because in most cases innovations kind of
outpace the regulation– the regulatory environment as
well as the policy environment. So innovators, researchers,
academic institutions sort of come up with innovations. And then the policymakers
and the regulators follow and built the supportive
environment for innovators to operate. Having said that, African
governments, policymakers, and regulators need to not be,
in my opinion, overregulate– overregulating the space. They need to observe
and see how they can nurture the
environment and support the transition from analog
spaces into digital spaces. I have yet experienced of
that myself in the different operations that I've– I've run with. We have actually been to
regulators and they've said, OK, we're going to
give you the space to build whatever solutions
you're working on. And work with us and let's
see how we can support you.

So that's when
the environment is a dream environment for fintech
entrepreneurs or technology entrepreneurs. And once you have the space, the
regulators or the policymakers need to then follow
the entrepreneurs and see how can we have
correct behavior that manages or regulates
the operating– the operatives– in that space
so we don't have bad actors. But across the Continent,
because the complexities, when you talk of Africa,
[INAUDIBLE] 55, 54, 55 countries, which
also implies 55, 54 jurisdictions, which also
implies different policy environment, so they're not
moving at the same pace. And that's why the
African Union is very relevant in the conversation. But that transition
needs to happen faster than it has happened before. And we've seen a lot
of that happening as we've tried to connect
the Continent together. There are companies that are
doing great work, companies like Liquid that
have been wiring the continent over
the last several years and connecting
different countries. So as we transition
into the digital space, it's very important
for policymakers to be moving fast and
aligning their policies, and regulations, and incentives
with the evolution that's happening within the
entrepreneurial digital space.

MS. TUCKER: Thank you. And since we are running
very short on time, I'm going to let you
answer this final question. The question is, is there
potential for digital tech to address corruption? And I'll let you answer
that one, Taurai, since we have very little time left. MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU: Absolutely. Corruption exists when
there's inefficient– MS. TUCKER: Absolutely, OK. MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU: –so long
as you have inefficiencies, you're going to get corruption,
because even for one side, people are looking
for a service. And they're looking
to get themselves efficient and quickly. And then on the other side, you
have all these inefficiencies, barriers, and
restrictions in place. And that creates a
space for corruption. So once we bring
innovation and technology in to take away
the inefficiency, that's an opportunity for
innovators to actually break the bind that is corruption.

So let's use technology
to bring efficiency across all our systems,
across all our processes in the delivery of
public services, in the delivery of
government services, and also in the delivery
of utility services. If we do that, whether you're
willing to go out there looking for a passport, or a travel
document, you don't– as long as you can do
it in an efficient way, you don't have to be bribing
a government official. Or if you want to
reach that company, as long as we can
deploy technology to electronically do that and
remove all the inefficiencies, you don't have to be paying
target fees, as we call them, in some African countries
to access a service.

So technology actually
helps in a big way to take away corrupt
tendencies across the system. MS. TUCKER: Right. MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU: More
importantly, technology enables audit trail, so you
know who is doing what, who– who is, you know, a bump along
the service delivery process. And once you do that,
you're able to eliminate. You won't completely
take it out, but you will be
able to take away a lot of the corrupt
practices in our system. MS. TUCKER: Excellent. Excellent. MR. YEDALY: Just simply saying– MS. TUCKER: And Moctar, OK. MR. YEDALY: Just
simply saying, if you put the e-procurement
e-government services, you eliminate a lot
of third parties. And then the technology
will be helping to address a lot of
issues of corruption. MS. TUCKER: OK. So the technology will
bring efficiency– MR. YEDALY: Monitoring and
evaluation, e-procurement. MS. TUCKER: –and transparency,
monitoring, and evaluation, et cetera. OK, well, it looks like
we're almost out of time. So thank you all so much for
your fantastic questions. We really covered a
lot of ground today. Hopefully, those of
you watching will continue engaging on
these important issues.

Fola, do you have any
final thoughts to share? MR. OLATUNJI-DAVID: Well, the
only thing I'd like to say is just almost a
recap of everything I've said around learning
and being constant learners. And perhaps more importantly,
it's building our community and working with our community. I have also learned just
listening to the panel today that I want to encourage
people that, look, there's things that
you know, and there are things that you don't know. We call them knowns
and unknowns. And there's also
unknown unknowns, which is where blissful
ignorance occurs. So you could be in your
corner of the continent and not know that there's
a whole new, wide world out there.

But I encourage you to
take up that ability to learn and to just take up
that willingness to learn. And there's so much we can do
for ourselves on the continent. I wanted to chime in on
the question about building Africa First solutions. There's no need to reinvent
the wheel sometimes. Sometimes, just figure
out what works out there and find how you can find
that version for yourself. But it comes from
being able to learn. So thank you. MS. TUCKER: Thank you, Fola. And now over to Taurai. Do you have any final
thoughts for us? MR. CHINYAMAKOBYU:
Yeah, absolutely. Final thoughts,
there's just two, the first one being the big
African question, right? Is Africa our continent? Are we able to leapfrog,
to make the great leapfrog that other countries
like India and China are in the process of making,
or we are going to permanently remain in a space where we are
behind when everybody else is moving ahead? That's a big
question that we need to think about as we think of
transition into digital space.

The second point
is another question to do with the issue of data. And that sort of feeds into
the cybersecurity issue that was been raised before. Right? In the Agricultural Age, labor
was a very important issue. And in the Iron Age,
iron was very important. Now we're getting it into
cyberspace, the Information Age, where data
is very important. How are we thinking about
data, because data is critical as a resource the
same way iron ore was a critical resource in
the Industrialization Age and the same way land
was very important, or is still very important,
in the Agricultural Age. What are we doing and
how are we thinking about a critical resource
that is data across Africa? Those are my two [INAUDIBLE] MS.

TUCKER: Thank you very much. And you, Moctar? Any closing thoughts for us? MR. YEDALY: Yes, and
my, just point by point and quickly, first of all,
the new technologies and ICTs represent for Africa
the greatest opportunity that we shouldn't miss. We have missed the
Industrial Revolution. We end up dominated
[INAUDIBLE] first Industrial Revolution or the
Digital Revolution that we'll end up dominated forever. We should not miss that. It's the greatest
opportunity for us to catch up with the
rest of the world and really to leap forward
in the 21st century. Second, in order for us
to use the technology, we'll need to make sure that we
have creating the trust, cyber trust environment for
use of the technology. And third, we do
not have be really scared about the
technology itself.

It is the opportunity
that we should not really miss for our [INAUDIBLE]
our education system, or health systems,
our business systems. And we have to just make
sure that we are getting out of the way, the classical
way, of thinking. And think digital,
if I may say that, to think that we can use this
technology really to integrate and develop the continent. MS. TUCKER: Think digital. OK, and lastly, Elizabeth? MS. VISH: Yeah. Thank you.

First of all, thank every– I want to thank everybody. These are fantastic
panelists, and I am honored to be part of it. I would say two things. One, when you're connecting,
do connect, but connect smart. So get smart about
the things you can do to protect
your mobile device, the things you can do
to protect your data, things you can do
to protect yourself.

And a lot of those are
really low tech things, thinking critically about if
a business opportunity looks too good to be true, maybe
you should think twice, do some research. And then the other
thing I would say is that I think that there
is tremendous innovation potential on the internet. And what I'm looking
forward to is solutions developed
in Africa that fix problems in
the United States, because that's really
going to happen. And so just get out there, and
we're– we're excited to see what comes of all of your work. MS. TUCKER: Wonderful. In closing, I'd like
to thank our panelists for their great insights today. Hopefully, this
discussion can serve as a launching point for
continued conversations on technology and innovative
entrepreneurship in Africa and how they can
be the catalysts for a dynamic and
evolving digital economy.

A big shout out goes
out as well to our– to all the excellent
questions that came from our online
viewers and the live viewing groups at American Corner of
Kampala, Uganda, Embassy Dakar, Senegal, the American
Corner– excuse me, American Center in Lome,
Togo, American Center, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. The American Cultural
Center in Windhoek, Namibia, American Corner in Walvia Bay,
Namibia, the Martin Luther King American Corner in Ongwediva,
Namibia, the Embassy Bujumbura in Burundi, American
Space Gigita in Burundi, American Center, Kigali, Rwanda,
the American Corner in Jimma, Ethiopia, the American
Corner in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, the Embassy
in Harare, Zimbabwe, Embassy Abuja in
Nigeria, Consulate Lagos, also in Nigeria, American
Spaces, Bauchi, Calabar, Jos, Kano, and Sokoto
all in Nigeria– thank you for
tuning in, Nigeria– Embassy Dar Es Salaam
in Tanzania, and Embassy Lusaka in Zambia.

Thank you again for
taking time to be part of today's discussion. It's been my great
honor to facilitate. Have a great day.

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