Implementation for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has been underway for some time, the Nigerian National Action Committee have begun training stakeholder in the six geo-political zones to ensure the word gets to the grassroots.
The AfCFTA gives business owners access to over 1.3 billion people that reside in Africa and the opportunity to tap into the US$3.4 trillion GDP that Africa has because the tariff has been removed under the AfCFTA giving opportunity for cross-border trade in services involving capital, goods, and human resource.
With this development, the technology sector will be greatly impacted and digital connectivity is set to improve in Africa more than ever. In the technology sector, it will bring about new collaborations and partnership opportunities for startups leading to more innovations.
This will make Africa more attractive for investors both local and foreign investors, increasing the capital of the innovators who need funding to keep building.
This will lead to an increase in demand for skills and services, which would be sourced from within the continent.
Through this AfCFTA will drive increased digital connectivity, as to enable people work effectively across borders and engage in real-time on projects.
This will encourage the development of better internet networks that work cross-border or them integration of some existing systems to serve cross-border and the development of other digital infrastructures by both private and public sectors.
Digital connectivity will improve access to digital services and information, and this will make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) whom most tech solutions are built for.
They can access new customers, acquire new suppliers, conduct cross-border transactions seamlessly, and connect easily with other business owners.
Some challenges threaten this, for example, Individuals in some African countries, especially people living in remote areas or rural communities might struggle with optimizing the AfCFTA and the digital connectivity opportunity it offers due to a lack of skills to leverage the technology aids or lack of access.
To manage this, steps to ensure that these individuals get trained and can get the most out of AfCFTA should be taken. If this happens, it would decrease the digital divide and improve their lives as well.
Another factor to be taken into consideration that might pose a threat to the increased digital connectivity through the AfCFTA is the affordability of these devices and internet services. However, with reduced costs, more people will be able to afford them.
Strict regulations will be a great arsenal that will help propagate the goals of improved digital connectivity and AfCFTA. The regulation, therefore, has to be far-reaching in its rewards and penalties to have the desired effect because it is dealing with an entire continent.
In conclusion, the AfCFTA is a step in the right direction for the continent and will help the continent bridge the digital divide and improve digital connectivity as long as efforts of providing training, affordable devices, and internet service, as well as implementing strict regulations are made.
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