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…Calls for stronger regulations on IP, data privacy in Africa
Between 2011 and 2018, telecoms revolution driven inflows to Nigeria and Africa in general have buoyed Gross Domestic Product (GDP) up to the tune of over $8.3bn with associated job creation rising to over 600,000 within the period under review.
This was the key revelation in the latest Economic Report on Africa, published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The report however, argued that there is need to adapt and harmonize legislation on technology, including intellectual property (IP) and data privacy, saying this will further internalize the rapid technological and social changes in maximizing the benefits of digitization for the continent.
The report disclosed that in line with observed significance of digitization, digital applications are already being leveraged to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, including the empowerment of traders who are women and young people, and mobile and digital solutions to offer possibilities for productive job creation for young people and further boost the sector.
ECA averred that though important progress is being made, there is a need to increase public and private investment in the development of information and communications technology and related capabilities. This is said, will help overcome various challenges faced by trade and the private sector.
The report called for serious progress to grow public and private investment in the development of information and communications technology and related capabilities, to help overcome various challenges faced by trade and the private sector.
On the other hand, ECA revealed that even though digitization in Africa seems to have impacted enormously on the economy, it is facing several setbacks that make it difficult for governments to collect revenue.
The report pointed out an example saying issues surrounding use of data, which in most cases is difficult to assign a value to; and the ability to conduct business without having a physical presence are some of the challenges which have been highlighted by the report.
Continuing, ECA report seen by Business Hilights added that “Current tax policies in most African countries are aimed at a more traditional economy, and do not take into account the distinctive nature of the digital economy, resulting in loss of revenue for governments.”
This therefore forced the United Nations to advise African government and mainly Nigeria to rethink and restructure the current taxation frameworks and its attendant multiple taxation on players in the telecoms industry with a view to accommodating the disruptions coming with digital economy.
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