African Development Fund Grants $1.5M to Smart Africa Alliance for African Startups

African Development Fund Grants $1.5M to Smart Africa Alliance for African Startups

Smart Africa Alliance, an alliance of 32 African countries, international organizations, and global corporations with a vision to create a single digital market in Africa by 2030 has announced it received $1.5m grant funding from the African Development Bank Group to assess policy gaps in the digital trade and e-commerce ecosystems in 10 countries in Africa.

Smart Africa Alliance is an investment banking group operating in Africa with the mission of providing local and on-the-ground investment banking services across the African continent.

The project will study the political environment in 10 countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Uganda, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Republic of Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Smart Africa will consult with public and private sector actors to develop an online training program that will directly benefit 600 stakeholders (including government representatives, small and medium enterprises, private sector mobile network operators) and indirectly benefit 2,500 others.

Nicholas Williams, Bank’s Division Manager for ICT Operations, said: “This project is both timely and vital. For the continent to create a unified digital market by 2030, efforts must focus on harmonizing and creating a coherent policy environment for intra-continental trade. The Bank is delighted to partner with the Smart Africa Alliance to advance key policy goals that will support broader digital development across Africa”

Lacina Koné, CEO of Smart Africa, said: “One of the critical challenges preventing the continent from preparing for Africa’s bold new future is the inability to make cross-border payments for goods and services due to a lack of solutions and crippling policies.

“The partnership with the African Development Bank is crucial to create an enabling environment for the promotion of electronic payments, and the digital economy is essential for Africa’s renaissance”.