Building Resilience in Africa: Enabling an Inclusive Digital Economy and Energy Access for All
Unrestricted access to the digital economy is a critical value-added energy service and will help build resilience to the multiple crises the world is experiencing today. The socioeconomic crisis arising from the COVID-19 global health pandemic has brought existing vulnerabilities to various crises and shocks of the African continent, and the underlying factors that drive these, into uncomfortably sharp focus. High levels of vulnerability – or low levels of resilience – are concomitant with low access to critical energy services. Central among these is the digital economy, which allows access to socially distanced, and thus safer, socio-economic activity. An inclusive digital economy is, by necessity, underpinned by decentralised energy solutions that are central to socio-economic resilience and are in line with the AU-EU partnership objectives. Cooperative decision-making by AU-EU policymakers should be predicated on achieving open and inclusive access to the digital economy across Africa. The pathways for accelerating inclusive access to all critical energy services must make these affordable, predictable and reliable, thus enabling enhanced quality of life and supporting livelihoods across the continent.