Kristalina Georgieva: Why IMF supports Africa’s digital economy amid COVID-19 crisis

Digitalization is key to a strong 21st century African economy and its recovery to the current COVID-19 pandemic, says Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ms. Georgieva said the Fund, not only encourages this digital transformation in Africa, it also plans to support economies that prioritize digitalization in newly amended funding policies.

In an exclusive interview on Wednesday with Today News Africa’s Simon Ateba, Ms. Georgieva noted that there are many benefits associated with a strong digital economy, urging Africa to “take advantage of transformation and leap forward.”

As Africa still suffers and aims to recover from  negative residual economic effects from the COVID 19 Pandemic, Ms. Kristalina Georgieva recommended that Africa should build on the lessons learned through acceleration of digital economic transformation and turn to climate resilient low carbon growth.

“We genuinely believe that Africa should take advantage of transformation and leap forward, especially in terms of digitalizing the economy,” she said. “If we increase access to the internet by 10% in Africa, This would boost growth by 4%. I mean that’s a tremendously attractive opportunity “

The crisis, as the Bulgarian economist put it “underpins a better future” and creates a variety of opportunities arising from the  digital revolution of economies. Most notably, she mentioned IMF encouragement of the concept of e-government. She stated “We also want to see the policies of government encouraging a rapid transition to digital governing..” passionately proclaiming that “… e-government is the best way to also put power in the hand of the citizens”

e-governance provides their people direct access and viewing of the ongoing discussions and open discourses covering the most pressing issues locally, politically and globally. This provision allows the people to see what their governments are truly up to in an unfiltered context.

In terms of IMF’s broad  support, when asked how the IMF can assist African countries in making the digital transformation and recommending how they can  benefit from the transformation. Ms. Kristalina Georgieva declares that the IMF will adjust policy engagements, advice, and capacity building that will create fiscal space and specialized funding in order to aid the digital transformation of economies.

She also warns that “it would only be successful if countries did their part as well.” Perhaps, challenging Africa to learn from other successful digital transformation success stories like the case in U.S in which the digital transformation was a result of investment in the private sector.

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