The UK’s international trade department has hosted the Africa Mobile & Digital Leaders Reception on the sidelines of this year’s  Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

This is the third in a series of events looking at promoting partnerships between the United Kingdom and Africa, specifically in mobile-driven digital trade.

Digital trade is a driver of business growth all over the world. Market research company, eMarketer, predicts that online sales will soar from $3.3 trillion in 2019 to $6.2 trillion in 2023 and $7.4 trillion by 2025. In Africa, the United Nations estimates that internet business could add $180 billion to the continent’s GDP. However, there are hurdles that need to be overcome to unlock the immense opportunity for mobile-driven digital trade on the continent.
Jamila Saidi, Head of Digital Commerce at the trade department said,“We know that digital trade and digital services powered through mobile and other channels is the future and will be at the heart of growth in Africa. The continent is one of the most exciting in entrepreneurship and innovation and this century will redefine Africa as its population claims the opportunity ahead and reaches for economic empowerment, all powered by entrepreneurship and investment.”

The Department is cooperating with African Business magazine to highlight how Africa’s vibrant and entrepreneurial tech community can leverage partnerships to overcome hurdles to unlocking the potential of digital trade in the continent.

The event also saw the announcement of a new business group, The Africa Forum for Digital Commerce, which will bring together people and organisations who are passionate about advancing Africa’s economic growth, to collaborate and create digital commerce opportunities from the continent and to the continent. The forum’s founding members include ARM (E3)NGAGE which has recently been launching its own digitisation initiatives across the continent.

Stephen Ozoigbo, Snr. Director, Emerging Economies at Arm, said, “Since the inception of our (E³)NGAGE lab model, we have seen tremendous progress across targeted program areas that support our digitization strategies across the continent. Our current ecosystem successes in Africa have also accelerated Arm’s ambitions around launching additional labs, as we expand across the continent.”