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Digitalisation and development

Minister Müller announces launch of Africa Cloud initiative


Workshop in Nigeria

Press release of 18.11.2019 |

Berlin/Meseberg – The German Development Ministry (BMZ) has today announced seven flagship digital projects in Africa. The announcement coincides with a special cabinet retreat focusing on Germany's digital future, held at Meseberg palace. The Development Ministry is investing nearly 270 million euros in over 200 digital projects in Africa.

Development Minister Gerd Müller commented, "There are more people online than offline in the world. Nowhere is digital technology spreading faster than in Africa. Over the last five years, the number of internet users there has increased threefold. We must wake up to the digital development happening in Africa! If we don't, we will miss the chance to create enough opportunities for education, training and jobs. Today we are launching the Africa Cloud initiative. This new platform offers e-learning opportunities to young people in remote and rural areas of Africa. The content of these courses, aimed at vocational trainers, young farmers and digital entrepreneurs, will be developed locally and can be downloaded onto a computer or smartphone. Local partners and a coach then offer learners support. The courses will begin in January 2020 at our Green Innovation Centres for the agriculture sector in Africa."

"Digitalisation can help Africa make enormous strides in its development. We must harness the full potential of modern technology to create new opportunities for young Africans to enter training, the agricultural sector, medicine or the tech business. With its Digital Africa initiative, the Development Ministry is already implementing more than 50 projects, with funding totalling 150 million euros. Projects range from strengthening good governance using internet-based public participation methods, to new app-based sales channels for farmers, to telemedicine for providing healthcare in rural areas. This will enable countries to make true leaps forward in their development. It also offers German and European businesses new opportunities for investment," Minister Müller continued.

The BMZ has seven flagship programmes in Africa:

  1. Digital Africa initiative: The BMZ has launched more than 50 projects since 2015 with funding totalling 150 million euros. One example is Moving Rwanda, a project for developing digital and environmentally-friendly mobility concepts that is being implemented in collaboration with Volkswagen, Siemens, SAP and Inros Lackner. In the Rwandan capital Kigali, for example, carsharing schemes are being introduced with electric cars. The necessary software was developed locally. In Cameroon, a project is underway to popularise digital payment methods.
  2. Make-IT initiative: In collaboration with digital companies and networks from Europe, the BMZ is supporting the digital start-up scene in countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Tunisia.
  3. Africa Cloud digital learning platform: The platform offers e-learning opportunities to young people in remote and rural areas: digital entrepreneurs, people engaged in vocational training, farmers in rural areas, digital transformation experts.
  4. #eSkills4Girls Initiative: The initiative was launched by the BMZ during Germany's presidency of the G20 in 2017. The aim is to improve education and employment prospects for women and girls in a digital world – working with partners from politics, business, research and civil society.
  5. Digital Centres: These centres draw together technical expertise, IT theory and digital entrepreneurship under one roof. They are a focal point for start-ups and those entering the job market, providing opportunities to develop innovative digital solutions and business models. The aim is for these centres to help African governments build up the structures and capacities needed to develop, implement and roll out digital solutions. The first of these digital centres was opened in Rwanda in 2019. With digital centres already in Tunisia, Senegal, Kenya, Ghana and other countries, the aim is to build up a pan-African network.
  6. FAIR Forward – Artificial Intelligence for All: Expansion of local, value-based AI development and improved data protection, in collaboration mainly with partners from Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, South Africa and India. We are working together with the internet company Mozilla on developing voice recognition systems for local African languages, e.g. voice interaction technologies using Kinyarwanda.
  7. Strategic Partnership "Digital Africa": A network for companies developing new business ideas, e.g. digital tax returns in Zambia, an e-commerce platform in Rwanda, the digitalisation of agricultural value chains in Uganda. Over 150 companies are currently active in the network. These include not only the likes of SAP and Siemens but also a number of small and medium-sized companies. Thanks to the network, 20 projects have already been launched.

The BMZ also cooperates with the organisers of re:publica, an internet and digital society conference generally held annually in Europe. Last year it brought the conference to Africa for the first time. At the re:publica in the Ghanaian city of Accra, pioneers, visionaries and creatives from Africa came together at nearly 100 sessions to develop local digital solutions for creating new jobs. The BMZ is supporting these homegrown digital innovations in Africa. This will also strengthen dialogue between Africa and Germany on the digital transformation.

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