IGF 2023 WS #311 Global Digital Value Chain: Africa’s Status and Way Forward

Thursday, 12th October, 2023 (04:00 UTC) - Thursday, 12th October, 2023 (05:30 UTC)
WS 3 – Annex Hall 2

Digital Divides & Inclusion
Skills Building for Basic and Advanced Technologies (Meaningful Access)

Organizer 1: INYE KEMABONTA, 🔒
Organizer 2: Ulandi Exner, 🔒
Organizer 3: Eric Sindeu, 🔒
Organizer 4: Thabo Mashegoane, ??AfICTA
Organizer 5: Kayode Oyeyemi, 🔒AfICTA - Africa ICT Alliance

Speaker 1: Jane Coffin, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Olutoyin Justus Oloniteru, Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 3: Melissa Sassi, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 4: Kossi AMESSINOU, Government, African Group
Speaker 5: Kulesza Joanna, Civil Society, Eastern European Group


Ulandi Exner, Private Sector, African Group

Online Moderator

INYE KEMABONTA, Private Sector, African Group


Eric Sindeu, Government, African Group


Round Table - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

1. Considering that Africa is rated as a continent with the least contribution to the GDVC as evident through the dilemma experienced in the advent of the COVID-19: a. How inclusive is the GDVC and as a concerned stakeholder, what are the initiatives or actions required to take to amend the abnormal trend? b. Identify soft areas through which Africa could penetrate the GDVC and the benefits the continent would derive? 2 Africa being home to major raw materials of production is yet with little or no contribution to the GDVC, what could have gone wrong, what are the remedies?

What will participants gain from attending this session? The proposal on "Global Digital Value Chain: Africa’s Status and Way Forward" is an opportunity for stakeholders in attendance to 1. Examine Africa's position in the GDVC, 2. Assess how inclusive the GDVC is 3. Identify areas Africa could penetrate the GDVC, 4. The future opportunity and possibly spur negotiation with the big actors in the manufacturing, services, and industrial sector on what Africans’ demands are, keeping in mind that with population growth continuing to outpace economic growth on the continent, industrialization is essential to promoting rapid job creation that the teaming youths desperately need. The session would also equip participants with information on the required skills and requisite knowledge to obtain so as to strategically reposition African economies among the committee of producing economies that are more self-sufficient through industrialization. It would also delegate responsibilities (through its recommendations) to various stakeholder groups so as to propel them into action.


At the point at which Africa's economy started booming in late 2019, and seemed Africa's steps toward prosperity and sufficiency was on the right course, the unexpected "Covid-19 pandemic" struck and subsequently rolled back most of the giant strides made in various sectors due to some factors amongst which is over-reliance on other continents for survival. The pandemic was a clog in the supply chain of finished products from other continents into Africa and within a few days, businesses and most importantly the health sector started having survival difficulties which eventually resulted in the disruption of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP), Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), Trade, Industrial Production, and most painfully, death. The economy started shrinking, exposing Africa to a high level of uncertainty. Although the Pandemic has subsided, the ripple effect is still evident within Africa's economy. There is also a prevalent nature of digital divides with reference to African countries which makes the developed countries the major regulator in the global digital value chain. Over the years, Africa remains subservient to foreign solutions by being a consuming nation without an Indigenous Afrocentric solution in key critical infrastructures. According to a recent study by AZA, an international finance company, Africa's top 5 Major Goods Imported are 1. Automobiles, 2. Computers and IT Products, 3. Pharmaceuticals, 4. Machinery and Engineering Products, and 5. Chemicals, with Africa having little or no value added to their production despite being the home to most of its major raw materials. With predictions of another pandemic like COVID, it becomes imperative for Africa to start strategizing on how to be more self-sufficient, having homegrown solutions and equipment, and raising its bar regarding inclusion in the Global Digital Value Chain - GDVC

Expected Outcomes

a. Suggestions that will aid stakeholders within the region to find soft points through which they could be part of the GDVC b. Enhancing policies that aim at preparing young minds to benefit from the opportunities derived from GDVC c. Re-addressing Government negotiating power with investors and exporters of our natural resources d. A discussion that is aimed at re-writing Africa from being consumers to producers of solutions and devices to enable better agility and sustainability during crisis d. Workshop report with recommendations that will be submitted to the IGF Secretariat e. Policy-based knowledge sharing, awareness, and capacity development of the participants.

Hybrid Format: The workshop will be opened by our onsite moderator who will set the scene and then address each of the policy questions to the speakers and attendees (on-site and online). Each speaker will be given 3 minutes to present their intervention on the 3 policy questions, one policy question at a time, with the workshop participants being given 10 minutes (per policy question) to contribute to the dialogue. The workshop will be interactive with maximum audience participation. Remote participation would be supported and actively encouraged as the online moderator (host) would timely call the attention of the onsite moderator to questions and contributions from the remote speakers and participants. The speakers are sourced from different demographics and stakeholder groups. Furthermore, AfICTA would promote the session on our newsletter platform, and social media pages. Member institutions will promote and host remote hubs for the session from their respective countries.