Tips to lead digital transformation in Africa

03.04.2019 | linnarviik

The report, published in January 2019 and made by e-Governance Academy’s expert team provides an analysis of the potential for e-governance in Africa, presents an evaluation and a ranking of countries based on the most recent data about the present level of the e-governance critical components. Moreover, the report suggests the next steps to move forward towards increased e-governance.

The Global Digital Revolution we are now experiencing is equally momentous to the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century that led to a radical transformation of our societies and the world. The increase in the speed of dissemination of digital technologies and the rapid innovation process of the underlying technologies makes the digital transformation more accessible, affordable and impactful than the technologies that were driving the Industrial Revolution. Digital transformation processes in Africa are great examples of this.


“Africa is witnessing an unprecedented growth of digital technologies and the role of governments in creating strong, enabling e-governance systems is timelier than ever.”

Linnar Viik 


Mobile first

Less than 0,5% of internet penetration in 2000 and under 5% penetration in 2007 made Africa lose out on digital opportunities. Now, with over 400 million mobile internet users, over 150 million mobile banking users, 150 billion € annual ICT spending and numerous sectorial leap-frogging innovations, we are witnessing an unprecedented growth of digital technologies. Many of the countries in Africa continue this path of growth in usage and by 2020 the number of internet users is expected to double with mobile data traffic across Africa to increase tenfold.

This trend, accompanied by user-centric innovations creates unique opportunities for economic growth, business transitions, productivity increase and service delivery. Taking this to consideration, the role of governments in creating strong, enabling e-governance systems is timelier than ever.


Africa is a diverse continent

Africa as a continent cannot be considered as a homogenous set of countries with a harmonized approach to their development agendas. Quite opposite – Africa is a diverse continent with big regional variations. It is true in most countries that the full potential of digital technologies is not yet used. Within countries, there are big differences between urban and rural areas, with many major cities in different countries showing evidence of what may soon come.

The categorisation of the African countries is based on the most recent data about the present level of the e-governance critical components from international sources, supplemented with further expert analysis either for the validation of the data or concerning components that have not been covered by statistical data. The categorisation serves primarily to identify the leaders in the field of e-governance.

Among the leading countries in the deployment of e-governance are:


Key recommendations for deployment of e-governance

Key recommendations for a national, regional and pan-African roadmap towards deployment of e-governance and in support of the momentum for digital transformation are following:

  • Support national capacity building and the creation of clear organisational structures for implementation of e-governance in the country. It is essential that there are clear structures with an established mandate and competence for e-governance implementation. In the absence of this, there is a risk of uncoordinated work and a lack of sustainability.
  • Support the idea of regional cooperation, also independent of existing regional organisations, especially for knowledge transfer between countries. The level of development of e-governance in the African continent varies, but there is a lot of relevant expertise in many countries.
  • Support existing regional structures in Africa, such as primarily the African Union (AU) so that a regional approach can be taken, making use of the benefits of scale and ensuring a seamless introduction of e-services across the continent.

The report was commissioned by unit C5 (Cities, Local Authorities, Digitalisation, Infrastructures) of the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development of European Commission.

Read more here: Guidelines and roadmap for full deployment of e-governance systems in Africa