Tunisia, Morocco are digital economy standouts

An OECD report has shown that these are the two North African countries that best employ digital tools for economic purposes.

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São Paulo – A report made public this week has shown that Tunisia and Morocco are the North African countries that best employ digital tools for economic purposes. It contains the results of a survey conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD),in tandem with the African Union Commission. The report was issued in Brazil by the Embassy of Tunisia in Brasília. Pictured above is Tunis.

According to the survey, 57% of businesses in Tunisia and Morocco have websites. The rates are 47% for small businesses, 67% for medium businesses, and 80% for large ones The OECD notes that this indicates major digitalization, unlike in other countries.

Entitled “Africa’s Development Dynamics 2021: Digital Transformation for Quality Jobs,” the report shows, however, that despite the rapid growth of e-commerce in North Africa in the past few years, online payment methods and efficient transport of goods are still lacking in the region.

According to the OECD, it’s imperative that banks make digital payment methods available to leverage e-commerce and promote jobs creation. Additional investment is also required into infrastructure to enable the transport of goods, the report states.

Low levels of e-commerce and availability of delivery services across the region, due to the lack of startups, means that the advantages of digitalization are not being tapped into to leverage jobs creation. North Africa remains characterized by insufficient startups that are unevenly distributed within and among countries.

The report argues that Egypt, Morocco, and to a lesser extent Tunisia are the countries in the region with the most fintechs, due to a favorable ecosystem backed by strong government support, good private sector involvement and satisfactory education levels.

In order to increase the number of fintechs in the region, the report invites decision-makers to support investment efforts in information and communication technology, by means of startup accelerator mechanisms as well as through incentives to high-tech equipment manufacturers and importers.

The OECD also calls on governments to partner up with the private sector to support potential demand for fintechs, and to impart greater importance to partnerships between microfinance providers and mobile operators, and particularly between those providers and digital financial service providers.

Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

World Bank

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