A collaboration between several large multinational European technology companies – including enterprise application software developer, SAP, and tech companies: Nokia, Ericsson, Orange, and Philips – has proposed a new public-private sector governance model aimed at fostering digital transformation for development purposes in key developing regions in Africa.
The initiative, known as the ‘Digital4Development (D4D) Public-Private Governance Model’, is aimed at identifying combined efforts between private sector business activities and European Union development activities in order to support long-term sustainable cooperation.
According to SAP Africa Executive for Economic Development Cooperation, Michael Pittelkow, the drive will first be implemented for Africa, with the participation of relevant representatives of the African public and private sector, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local authorities, communities, and people.
He stated that the D4D Public-Private Governance Model takes a multi-layer approach to integrate the interests of the various stakeholders involved.
“At the operational layer, various programs and initiatives are conducted, with members chosen for their relevance to the programs,” he explained in a statement issued this July.
“One key element is the Expert Groups formed from private sector companies, sectoral directors-general from the European Commission and African Union, as well as European member states and NGOs interested in the sector for which the program is conducted – agriculture, healthcare, education, governance, Smart Cities, Connectivity, etc. The groups will also be open to African countries or regional entities such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) or the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),” he elaborated.
The expert groups aim to advise on sector-specific development cooperation and sectoral dialogues and involve relevant regional partners to bring programs to successful outcomes. And at the strategic layer, the D4D Advisory Group will tie into the Sustainable Business for Africa Platform (SB4A), a similar initiative, to provide strategic advice and good-practice experience.
According to the World Bank’s most recent report on Global Economic Prospects, despite the broad global recovery currently underway, Africa still faces substantial downside risks, especially relating to challenges with subdued productivity and potential growth.
In response, governments on the continent should look at a combination of improvements in education and health systems, high-quality investment, and labour market, governance and business climate reforms which could yield substantial long-run growth dividends.
“While Africa continues its inexorable rise as a global economic powerhouse, its partnerships and collaboration with other nations, regional bodies, and continents is coming sharply into play. Its long history with European public and private sector organizations, in particular, is gaining widespread traction and attention. And within this, a new partnership model that was adopted at the 8th African European Summit in Abidjan is pointing to a new age of joint progress and prosperity between Africa and Europe,” said Pittelkow.
Pittelkow says European companies operating in Africa can already contribute a great deal to the development and digital transformation of the continent. SAP conducts a range of initiatives aimed at directly addressing key issues inherent in large parts of Africa.
“Africa Code Week, for example, empowers future generations with the coding tools and skills they need to thrive in the 21st-century workforce and become key actors of Africa’s economic development,” Pittelkow said, referring to a week-long initiative held in parts of the continent that aims to boost literacy in digital skills.
In 2017, 1.3 million youth in 35 countries were trained in basic coding skills, with support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), its partner group, YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and 15 African governments.
“All signs point to a bright future for Afro-European collaboration and partnership,” said Pittelkow.
“As we enter a new age of exponential growth and human advancement, initiatives that can bring together public and private role players in an inclusive model while working toward solving some of our biggest present challenges will ensure the sustainability of business and the prosperity of society,” he concluded.