GenPol was thrilled to re- partner with our colleagues at the Africa Technology Business Network, building on a well-established history of collaboration. The latest venture comes in the form of a Coalition for Digital Equality (CODE): a network connecting local and global stakeholders in Africa and Europe, with the aim to drive sustainable economic growth in Africa. A few weeks ago, our CEO Lilia Giugni spoke at the Coalition for Digital Equality Forum alongside researchers, social entrepreneurs, funders, activists and digital experts from Africa and Europe, where she urged academics to undertake research that illuminated the diverse interests of women in technology, their assorted technological skills and different levels of access to technology. In this blog, Maëva Yrio from the Africa Technology Businss Network explains what lead to the formation of CODE and her hopes for its future.
Digital technologies are spreading fast in Africa and are seen to be contributing towards greater inclusive economic growth and stability. According to recent research, harnessing the potential of African digital economies is contingent on three key factors: jobs enabled by digital platforms, institutional drivers for digital success, and the digital potential of each country – measured by its digital progress over the last decade as well as its citizens’ access to digital money.
The growing digital gender divide in Africa however presents a major barrier to the region’s socio-economic development. On top of this, the COVID-19 crisis contributed to an increase in digital inequalities as we all shifted towards a more virtual world. African women and girls are among the most affected by this growing divide which could increasingly prevent them from accessing life-enhancing digital innovations in education, health, and financial inclusion.
Bridging this gap is a pressing issue, now more than ever and this is what our newly-formed Coalition for Digital Equality (CODE) is advocating for.
The Coalition for Digital Equality (CODE) is led by the University of Leicester, Makerere University Business School (MUBS), University of Ghana, Africa Technology Business Network (ATBN) as well as GenPol in partnership with digital stakeholders in Ghana and Uganda. Their goal is to support knowledge-sharing and the collaborative development of solutions to address the digital gender divide in Africa at a system-level.
To establish the network, CODE carried out a number of activities including stakeholder consultations and workshops, and were able to identify some of the key challenges that are impeding digital gender inclusion in Ghana and Uganda: 1) ecosystem fragmentation and lack of aggregated data about existing digital gender gaps 2) ineffective digital programmes which do not prioritise the needs of women 3) critical shortage of financing for women-led ventures and 4) cultural norms and attitudes which limit the pipeline of women digital leaders.
Thanks to these findings, CODE is now actively working to engage stakeholders in the co-development and implementation of solutions designed to foster African women’s digital inclusion and economic empowerment.
on behalf of the African Technology Business Network