The East African Community plans a regional project “to drive digital market integration”

By : Samira Njoya

Date : vendredi, 08 septembre 2023 17:45

Internet for all is a major development challenge for East African countries. Despite the ambitions stated in national development plans, several countries are struggling to provide better connectivity for their populations. Setting up a joint project could provide a solution to that challenge.

The East African Community (EAC) will be launching an Eastern Africa Regional Digital Integration Project (EA-RDIP 2023-2028) in the coming months. Daniel Murenzi, CAE's Senior ICT Officer, announced the 10th edition of the East African Internet Governance Forum (EA-IGF), held on Tuesday, September 5, in Kigali, Rwanda. The project aims to meet the connectivity needs of countries in the Horn of Africa.

"The Eastern Africa Regional Digital Integration Project is in response to the discussions and recommendations of the 9th East Africa Internet Governance Forum and aims to drive digital market integration by expanding broadband connectivity and improving the digital service environment," said Daniel Murenzi.

The five-year World Bank-backed project aligns with regional priorities, focusing on the need to bridge the digital divide, reduce connectivity costs, and empower marginalized groups such as youth, people with disabilities, and women. The aim is to boost access to broadband and digital services, fostering the development and integration of digital markets in East Africa.

To achieve this goal, the EAC relies on the Internet and partnerships between member states. Strategies will be put in place to ensure that Internet access is affordable for all. In January, East Africa boasted 23.1% Internet penetration, benefiting 110.7 million people, equivalent to 8.4% of its population.

Once implemented, the project will support cross-border connectivity, data harmonization, e-commerce regulations and policies, and the removal of trade barriers, to establish a single digital market.

Samira Njoya


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