Bridging the Digital Divide: Smart Africa CEO, Lacina Kone, Discusses Innovation for a Connected Continent

Akim Benamara and Lacina Kone discuss the digital future of Africa and the challanages ahead.

During a conversation with TechAfrica News, Lacina Kone, CEO of Smart Africa, shared the importance of connectivity and innovation in Africa. He stressed that a digitally connected Africa is vital for providing access to education, healthcare, jobs, and economic opportunities. Kone discussed the need for innovation in areas such as affordable handsets, internet access, renewable energy, and digital skills to bridge the digital divide. He emphasized the importance of collaboration between governments, businesses, civil society, and citizens to achieve these goals.

As Smart Africa, we have nearly 34 initiatives, with 12 in the pilot phase. We’re creating special purpose vehicles to scale them up on the continent. A crucial aspect of digital transformation is digital identification, which we refer to as E-KYC (Know Your Customer). It’s vital to transform Africa into a single digital market. This requires developing a platform for interoperable digital IDs, which currently doesn’t exist. We’re working on developing national digital IDs and platforms to interoperate, allowing startups in one African country to access markets in others. This is a priority as it underpins everything, from AI to the private sector to government services.

Lacina Koné, CEO, Smart Africa

Kone also discussed the significance of 5G technology, which has the potential to revolutionize how Africa connects, communicates, and collaborates. He emphasized the importance of affordable access to smart devices and the role they play in facilitating the transition to 5G networks. Kone encouraged collaboration to make these initiatives a reality, emphasizing that the future of a connected Africa is within reach.

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