Overline: IASS Fact Sheet
Headline: Digitalization in Africa: New Publication Opportunities and Obstacles

Digital technologies are important tools to facilitate the flow of goods, capital, knowledge, data, and ideas around the world. Many countries in Africa hope to bolster their economies by tapping into the opportunities offered by digitalization. However, they face obstacles along the way. A new IASS Fact Sheet offers a brief overview of different aspects of the digital transformation that is taking place across Africa.

Many African governments have placed high hopes in digitalization.
Many African governments have placed high hopes in digitalization. Adobe Stock/Kike ArnaizStocksy

Many African governments and international organisations have set high hopes in digitalization. In particular, they stress the potential for digital technologies to boost the growth of the industrial and service sectors and improve agricultural output. Digitalization is also often seen as an important driver for growth, job creation, and greener industrial development.

However, with far-reaching political and socio-economic changes unfolding across the continent, coupled with unresolved issues around the international governance of the digital economy and a looming global economic crisis, the prospects for digital development in Africa have grown increasingly uncertain. There is a considerable risk that the digital divide between African countries and more technologically advanced countries will widen further, exacerbating existing market imbalances to the detriment of developing countries.

The IASS Fact Sheet "Digitalized economies in Africa" is intended as an introduction to this topic.


Fritzsche, K., Kunkel, S., & Matthess, M. (2020). Digitalized economies in Africa. Structural change in a dynamic environment. IASS Fact Sheet, 2/2020. https://doi.org/10.2312/iass.2020.050