Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Digital Inclusion

African governments must be enablers of innovation

Article Image
For African citizens to be able to innovate and participate digitally, African governments need to create an enabling environment.

These were sentiments shared by the Association of Fintechs in Kenya's SG, Munyi Nthigah, during a panel discussion about e-governance and digital finance in Africa held at the Africa eGovernance Conference (AfreGov) in Kigali, Rwanda this week.

"An enabling environment is both political and economic. There has to be political will and support. We can talk about governments and the private sector collaborating but how do governments affirm the private sector and say, yes, we support the innovation you are bringing," he said.

"As we collaborate and invest in the digital economy, we must measure the outcome, allowing development partners to come and mobilize the right foreign investment on the continent," Nthigah added.

He said when governments have laid the foundation and created enabling environments, the private sector can then come in and innovate.

Nthigah praised the work that the Rwandan government has done in creating programs that work, agreeing with Rwanda's minister of ICT and innovation, Paula Ingabire, who said that innovative initiatives required government buy-in and progressive regulation.

Partnerships are needed to connect the underserved

Diana Akullu Wanyama, intervention manager – financial sector deepening Uganda, said that in order for governments to create enabling environments for innovation, underserved communities need to be included.

"For that to happen, a lot of partnerships need to happen – financial institutions, telcos as well as e-money issuers need to work together," she explained.

Rwanda's Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire.  (Source: Africa eGovernance Conference).
Rwanda's Minister of ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire.
(Source: Africa eGovernance Conference).

"There is a huge gap between these entities, for example, in Uganda, we have 5 million people who are banked versus over 20 million who are not, therefore, partnerships are needed to create innovative services to reach underserved communities," she continued.

The panelists agreed that Africa needs a regulatory framework that is also enabling.

Want to know more? Sign up to get the weekly Connecting Africa newsletter direct to your inbox.

In an interview with Connecting Africa, commenting on the Central Bank of Kenya recently licensing 51 digital lenders, Nthigah said even though there are bad apples in many digital economies, that shouldn't hinder governments from creating enabling digital environments.

Related posts:

*Top image source: Africa eGovernance Conference.

Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Four agritech startups to watch in 2024

Connecting Africa has compiled a list of four agritech startups that are making a difference in the communities they serve.


Paymentology looks to strengthen its African roots

Global issuer-processor Paymentology's CEO Jeff Parker spoke to Connecting Africa about the company's African roots and aspirations to work with more banks, fintechs and enterprises both on the continent and globally.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives


Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.


The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: February 2024

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in February 2024 in the Middle East and Africa included 5G launches in Senegal and 5G trials in Egypt as well as Kenya's first 5G MVNO. Airtel also launched a new wholesale connectivity business while MTN and Huawei are planning a joint Innovation Technology Lab in South Africa – that and more in this month's Omdia View.


Omdia View: January 2024

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in January 2024 in the Middle East and Africa included a $200 million fintech deal between MTN and Mastercard as well as 5G network trials by Telecom Egypt – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up
Tag id test-002