The African continent needs a Digital Single Market strategy with the aim of effectively opening up digital opportunities for people and business and enhance Africa’s position in the digital economy.
A Digital Single Market creates opportunities for new startups and allows existing companies to reach a market of over 800 million people. Completing a Digital Single Market can contribute US$ 500 billion per year to Africa’s economy, create jobs and transform our public services.
Furthermore, it offers opportunities for citizens, provided they are equipped with the right digital skills. Enhanced use of digital technologies improve citizens’ access to information and culture and improve their job opportunities. It can promote a modern open government.
The European Union is already making progress towards The Digital Single Market. The initiative denotes the strategy of the European Commission to ensure access to online activities for individuals and businesses under conditions of fair competition, consumer and data protection, removing geo-blocking and copyright issues.
The adoption of a continent-wide free trade area is a step in the right direction as Africa seeks to harmonise trade relations among its members. This is a stepping stone for a comprehensive Digital Single Market strategy.
A Digital Single Market (DSM) is one in which the free movement of persons, services and capital is ensured and where the individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and engage in online activities under conditions of fair competition, and a high level of consumer and personal data protection, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence. GDPR is an example of enforcement of data privacy by the European Union. The same can be applied to all spheres of online value exchange.
The European Commission has identified the completion of the Digital Single Market (DSM) as one of its 10 political priorities. Vice-President Andrus Ansip leads the project team “A Connected Digital Single Market”.
The Digital Single Market strategy was adopted on the 6 May 2015. It includes 16 specific initiatives which have been delivered by the Commission by January 2017. Legislative proposals are currently being discussed by the co-legislator, the European Parliament and the Council.
The Digital Single Market Strategy is built on three pillars:
- Access: better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe;
- Environment: creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish;
- Economy & Society: maximising the growth potential of the digital economy.
Digital Single Market’s achievements