Ethiopia’s Digital Leap Towards Economic Modernization and E-Governance

The power of digital transformation in the African context is set to take center stage at GITEX Africa 2024, the continent’s largest tech and startup exhibition taking place from 29-31 May in Marrakech, Morocco. Attended by delegates from all sectors within Africa’s technology ecosystem, GITEX Africa presents countless opportunities to share insights into Africa’s tech future and showcase groundbreaking digital solutions that are emerging from countries on the continent.

In Ethiopia, modernizing its economy and enhancing governance are two areas in which the country is making significant strides, supported by several government initiatives aimed at expanding access to digital services and promoting e-governance.

For instance, the Digital Ethiopia 2025 strategy sets out a comprehensive plan to digitize key sectors of the economy, including agriculture, manufacturing, and services. It not only recognizes the importance of digital technologies to drive economic growth, improve public service delivery, and enhance the country’s competitiveness in the global market, but also seeks to create a knowledge-based economy that can sustainably address the needs of its growing population. And it is using innovations such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to do so.

The GITEX Africa 2024 Digital Summit focuses on crucial discussions regarding Africa’s digital advancement and its journey towards a unified digital market, covering topics like policy, connectivity, and digital cities. Another conference, the World Future Health Africa Investment Summit will feature Ethiopia’s Mactar Seck, Chief of Technology & Innovation Section at the United Nations Economic
Commission for Africa.

An Ethiopian country pavilion at GITEX Africa 2024 will also spotlight the massive advancements in the East African country’s digital transformation agenda across multiple sectors, from agriculture and e-commerce, to healthcare, manufacturing and F&B.

Making Significant Investments in Digital Infrastructure

In a country with close to 25 million internet users at the start of 2024, representing internet penetration of 19.4 percent, public-private partnerships have emerged as key to the digital growth of Ethiopia. Recognizing this, the government, in partnership with the private sector, has made significant investments in a telecommunications network that can support the country’s digital ambitions. The launch of the Ethio Telecom’s 4G services in major cities and the ongoing rollout of 5G technology are expected to boost connectivity and enable the delivery of high-speed digital services to both urban and rural areas.
Enhancing Public Services and Governance
E-governance is another key aspect of Ethiopia’s digital transformation agenda, and the government is leveraging digital platforms to streamline public services and enhance transparency. One notable initiative is the Ethiopian Government Electronic Services Portal, developed to provide electronic public services to citizens, non-citizens, businesses, and governmental and non-governmental organizations.

Another is the National ID Program, aimed at providing a unique digital identity to every Ethiopian citizen, enabling them to access government services seamlessly and securely. This initiative is expected to reduce bureaucratic hurdles, curb corruption, and promote social inclusion.

Contributing to Job Creation and Investment

In terms of economic modernization, much progress has already been made. In the agricultural sector, which employs the majority of Ethiopia’s workforce, digital tools such as mobile apps and remote sensing technologies are being used to provide farmers with real-time information on weather, soil health, and market prices. In the manufacturing sector, the government’s focus on developing industrial parks equipped with high-speed internet and digital facilities is creating jobs, attracting foreign investment, and boosting exports.

The opportunities presented by Ethiopia’s digital transformation journey are immense. By continuing to invest in digital infrastructure, promote digital skills, and foster innovation, Ethiopia can unlock the full potential of digital technologies to drive economic modernization and improve governance.

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