Inclusive Digital Transformation for Economic Resilience in Africa: A Call to Action


The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented, exogenous shock to the global economy, with major repercussions on production, consumption, and exchange activities. Unlike other economic recessions in modern history, the pandemic is unprecedented in the context of its disproportionate impact on vulnerable and marginalized populations. Even before COVID-19, the digitization of the global economy was gaining steam; the pandemic has only just sped up the pace of adoption of these technologies – particularly in organizations with asset-light business models in the tech, communications, and health care sectors. It has also triggered a radical transition across industry sectors like fintech, edtech, e-commerce, and telehealth. Digital capabilities remain essential in the knowledge economy, and the pandemic has fundamentally reshaped the role of technology in our day-to-day lives. With the applications of physical-digital integration increasingly dominating communication, online shopping, and digital education platforms, important questions remain for vulnerable and marginalized populations – like women, people with disabilities, smallholder farmers, and other micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa’s huge informal sector – with limited or no access to these resources.