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China – Africa in the digital realm

NAIROBI, Kenya – A report on Africa’s digital economic development index and China-Africa cooperation on the digital economy was released in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday.

Jointly published by the China-Africa Economic & Trade Research Institute and Datasparkle, the report provides observations and analyses of Africa’s digital economy evolution and explores avenues for collaboration between China and Africa in the digital realm.

Xiao Hao, acting secretary-general of the China-Africa Economic & Trade Research Institute and deputy dean of the School of Economics and Trade of Hunan University, spoke on Africa’s rapid digital progression at the release of the report.

Xiao said that, due to various factors like geography, society, and culture, significant disparities exist in digital technology adoption and accessibility across different African regions and demographics, leading to a noticeable digital divide.

China’s approach to digital economic growth, characterized by priority on infrastructure, continuous innovative applications, and technological innovation-driven development, offers valuable insights for other nations or regions seeking digital transformation, he said.

With its main editorial team coming from Hunan University, the report compiles data collected from African nations from 2014 to 2023, constructing a comprehensive evaluation framework for Africa’s digital economy across time, space, and various domains.

The report underscores Africa’s vast potential for the digital economy while noting significant regional disparities and systemic imbalances.

In terms of China-Africa collaboration, the report outlines comprehensive cooperation on digital infrastructure, applications, and technology innovation, showcasing significant achievements and highlighting China-Kenya cooperation as a model for future digital collaboration.

The report suggests a stronger focus on Africa’s independent development capability to drive the digital economy and address the diverse needs of African countries in this regard.

Additionally, the report offers recommendations to ways of enhancing cooperation, focusing on both macro-level strategies and specific actions.

At the macro level, it suggests strengthening top-level planning, expanding cooperation opportunities, bolstering digital infrastructure, promoting digital transformation through expanded applications, and fostering an inclusive environment for digital economic development. As for specific actions, it proposes upgrading infrastructure and developing smart cities and innovative technologies in collaboration with leading African countries in the digital economy. For countries striving to catch up, the report advises enhancing infrastructure quality and talent development, and expanding market outreach. It also advocates for joint efforts with countries adjusting their strategies to bridge the digital divide, delivering more effective digital services and ensuring the inclusiveness and accessibility of the digital economy.

Ma Shuzhong, dean of China Academy of Digital Trade at Zhejiang University, said that the report contains ample statistics and vivid examples, offering a full picture of the development of the African digital economy and academic support for China-Africa cooperation on the digital economy.

Li Wentao, executive director of the Institute of African Studies at China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, agreed that the report fills a gap in China-Africa digital economic cooperation research, provides valuable information for studies on Africa’s digital economy, and will help related enterprises and organizations learn better about Africa.

This is a report from



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