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Elumelu suggests ways to bridge digital divide in developing countries

The chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu has said that for developing countries to rise up to the challenges digital divide made more prominent by the COVID-19 pandemic, they need to put resources together and create the internet access that they need to usher in the new revolution.

Elumelu, who joined the President of the Republic of Estonia, Kersti Kaijulaid, during an opening discussion at the online cross-continental hackathon, with the theme: ‘’EU Africa the Post Crisis Journey’ which ended yesterday, spoke on the importance of bridging the digital divide.

Elumelu who is also the founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, said, “The challenge in most developing countries is the issue of infrastructure, the digital infrastructure, the connectivity issue, the data availability – so what we all need to do in the developing world, realising today the interconnectedness of the world, is to put resources together, let’s create the bandwidth, the internet access that we need, and usher in the new revolution.”

While highlighting the impact of the Tony Elumelu Foundation in addressing the digital gap, he said, “At the Tony Elumelu Foundation, we have created an ecosystem and a digital platform for African entrepreneurs called TEFConnect. TEFConnect brings young African entrepreneurs together. It is over a million people on the platform today and growing because we realise that this is one of the things we need to provide to young African entrepreneurs to enable them to realise their full potential.”

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President of Estonia Kersti Kaijulaid in her own opening remarks said that “Common understanding of public and private sector is crucial – you have to give your country a digital core, in Estonia the X-road. My advice is to build a single simple system to guarantee the digital ID.”

Others who also featured at the event include the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union Commission,  Dr Amani Abou-Zeid; commissioner in charge of International Partnerships in the European Commission,  Ms Jutta Urpilainen; Luxembourg’s minister for Economy, Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Mr Franz Fayot; director general of Smart Africa, Mr Lacina Koné; founder of Angry Birds (Rovio) and Finest Bay Area Development, investor and supporter of the Ambitious Africa project, Mr Peter Vesterbacka, among others.

The conference sought to find innovative solutions to socio-economic problems that have been further escalated by the outburst of the COVID-19 pandemic and was organised by Estonia and the African Union, with the support of Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland and the European Investment Bank.


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