Under the guidance of President Akinwumi Adesina, the African Development Fund has teamed up with the Smart Africa Alliance to unveil a collaborative $1.5 million initiative. The project, known as Institutional Support for Digital Payments and e-Commerce Policies for Cross-Border Trade Projects (IDECT), seeks to streamline e-commerce and digital trade regulations across ten African countries, which include Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Uganda, São Tomé and Principe, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Congo, and South Sudan.
IDECT’s primary objective is to assist governments, corporate organisations, and Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) by implementing regional training and capacity-building programs focused on cross-border e-payment and e-commerce. Through these activities, the project expects to engage around 600 participants, with 60% being women and young individuals. In addition, IDECT plans to develop a certified gender-sensitive e-learning training program that addresses the distinct challenges faced by women in the digital trade and e-commerce industries. This program aims to reach 2,500 participants, with women comprising 60% of the attendees.
Lela Mokaddem, the Director General of the African Development Bank’s Southern Africa Region, has voiced her support for the IDECT initiative, stating that the project is an essential step towards enhancing Africa’s digital trade and e-commerce landscape. By creating standardized e-payment policies, capacity-building initiatives, and gender-sensitive frameworks, IDECT will establish a robust digital trade ecosystem that generates employment opportunities across the continent.
Lacina Koné, the CEO of Smart Africa, has also expressed his enthusiasm for the IDECT project, highlighting its dedication to nurturing digital transformation and economic growth in Africa. By addressing policy gaps and promoting gender-sensitive training, IDECT lays the groundwork for a thriving digital trade and e-commerce ecosystem.
The IDECT project agreement was signed on Tuesday, April 25, just one day prior to the 2023 Transform Africa Summit in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The summit, which occurred from April 26 to 28, served as a platform for leaders and stakeholders to discuss Africa’s digital future and the role of digital transformation in driving sustainable development.