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Microsoft and Economic Development: sees the advantages of the digital economy

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The benefits will be available for the economy to harvest if the government plays its role of establishing an enabling environment by investing deliberately and systematically in expanding digital infrastructure and services, according to Microsoft.

Digital technologies, among other things, have the potential to increase the pace of economic and social progress by opening up new avenues for rapid economic growth, innovation, job creation, and service access.
The problem is that too many people in Africa do not have access to the internet, and too few residents have digital IDs or banking services, denying them access to crucial services.

This is why, according to Ryno Rijnsburger, chief technology officer at Microsoft 4Afrika, African governments must digitize in order to be inventive, inclusive, and resilient.

“While the private sector has a critical role to play in this development, governments across Africa have a critical role to play in enabling digitisation, not only through infrastructure development but also by digitizing their own systems and processes and creating an enabling environment through regulatory and legal tools,” Rijnsburger said in a statement obtained by BusinessDay.
Governments will play a vital role in establishing an enabling environment for digitisation, according to McKinsey & Partners’ research, ‘Reopening and Reimagining Africa.’ This includes ensuring that regulatory and legislative settings promote digitisation.

“Governments can increase the availability of digital services and information, as well as leverage digital tools to gather, manage, and use data to inform decision-making,” Rijnsburger said.

He highlighted the World Bank’s Digital Economy for Africa Initiative study, which states that governments must discover more flexible and effective ways to offer services and communicate with residents.

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Any government service that formerly required a citizen’s physical presence can now be performed remotely utilizing electronic signatures and multi-factor authentication, which will likely speed up but also simplify access to services.

“Developments like this help to increase citizen access and might also be a key step in helping SMEs to take advantage of the potential benefits of AfCFTA, since digital identity can unlock access to financial services, among other things,” he added.

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