Is a Digital Single Market , Important for African Tech , Right Now!
In 2014 the European Union as part of an aggressive program to bring uniformity leading to economic growth launched the Digital Single Market Project.
The Digital Single Market project is meant to enable the free movement of goods, persons and capital across European Union nations so businesses and individuals and easily and uniformly perform online activities under conditions of fair competition and greater level of consumer and data protection.
The assertion was that in lowering the regulatory and online barriers within Europe, it could be possible to add over EUR 400 billion to European GDP
The three main pillars the Digital Single Market was built on are
- Greater access for individuals and business to online products and services across the European Union: The breakdown of barriers like disparate tax and geo blocking (which is where an online platform redirects user the a local website or charges extra based on the location is the buyer
- Providing the right environments for online and digital services to thrive: this includes the right regulatory environment and a level playing field.
- Maximizing the growth potential of the European Digital Economy: ensuring the right infrastructure along with and research and innovation to increase competitiveness.
Single Digital Window Achievements
As described by the European Union Digital Single Window Platform, the past and current achievements are
- As of 15 June 2017, mobile roaming charges were abolished in the EU.
- As of May 2018, a new single set of EU rules on data protection and privacy in electronic communications.
- As of early 2018, EU citizens will be able to enjoy their online films, sports broadcasts, music, video games, and e-book subscriptions when travelling in the EU.
- As of May 2018, the EU will be equipped with its first ever common cybersecurity law to help keep network and information systems safe in all Member States
- As of 2020, EU Member States will for the first time coordinate their use of the high-quality band 700 MHz to enable 5G
- If EU governments follow the Commission e-government action plan, they could save up to 5 billion Euro per year as of 2020. [simplify the life of citizens and businesses by ensuring public registers are connected and by accelerating the transition to e-procurement and e-signatures.}
*culled from the digital single window fact sheets
European Union-African Union Partnership on an African Digital Single Market
In mainstreaming digital technologies and services into EU Development Policy as part of Digital4Development, the EU is working alongside the African Union (AU) to support the adoption and creation of a digital single market off the back of the Africa Continental Free trade agreement.
In Vienna in late 2018 an EU-AU Task force was instituted at the High level forum African-Europe. The task forces main role is to taking the learning from the EU and explore how to collaborate to bring digital transformation to AU member countries. Task force is co-chaired by Ghana’s Telecommunications Minister and Mr Pierre Guislain, Vice-President of the African Development Bank
A digital single window will go a long way to promote and develop digitization and services across the African region.
Disparate taxes, VAT regimes and custom regulation across countries make it near impossible for sales across national boundaries in Africa
I believe the boost once the regulation and deregulation for ecommerce and digitization will be immediate.
Additionally creating A Digital Single Market more intentional informed taxation of multinational online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn etc. instead of what is happening now across some countries where bloggers need a license and are taxed to blog and the populace to ask to register and pay tax to access these sites.