Country-Level Assessment of Africa’s Readiness for a Digital Single Market

From the 1st of January 2021, African nations initiated trading activities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which is one of the largest trading blocs worldwide and encompasses 54 African countries. The primary objective of AfCFTA is to promote intra-African trade, leading to inclusive economic growth for all African nations. This growth will be achieved through unrestricted access to market opportunities, the development of specialised capabilities, economies of scale, improved coordination within regional value chains, and enhanced cooperative relationships among member countries.

A crucial aspect that can facilitate increased intra-African trade is the efficient and accessible digitalisation of trade. To ensure inclusivity, affordability, and efficiency, countries must consider various factors such as intellectual property (IP), cybersecurity, digital market access, data localisation, data governance, cross-border data flows, privacy, digital inequality, and competition conditions. This study aims to explore the digital trade challenges faced by African countries within the AfCFTA framework and generate evidence-based insights to inform critical policy actions.

The research will address the following questions: What factors influence the ability of African countries to engage in digital economy trade? What type of integrated digital trade framework is necessary to enable more substantial and equitable participation of all countries and their citizens in the digital single market? And what measures should be taken within the context of AfCFTA to enhance women’s economic opportunities within the digital single market?

Suggested citation

Makumbirofa, S., & Banya, R. (2023). Digital new deal. Country-level assessment of Africa’s readiness for a digital single market. Research ICT Africa.