In recent years, amid a sluggish global economy, an increasing number of African nations have recognized the digital economy as a pivotal driver for their development, and China, with close connections with Africa, naturally emerges as a crucial partner in propelling the continent’s digital economy and realizing its modernization aspirations, Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Zhang Xiangchen has said.
In the process of economic globalization, there exists an imbalance in the distribution of interests between the Global North and the Global South, Zhang said in a recent interview with Xinhua in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, noting that developing countries, especially African nations, have reaped limited benefits. Developing the digital economy is a crucial pathway to gaining advantages in international competition in the future, Zhang said. And developing countries, including those in Africa, should benefit from “re-globalization” distinguished by its emphasis on digitalization, he added.
Africa has a vast market, a sound market environment and the youngest population globally, which, Zhang said, “are advantages for Africa to develop the digital economy.” However, research conducted by the WTO found that African countries have a relatively low share in global digital trade.
“Africa’s slower pace in digitization primarily stems from the digital gap, including deficiencies in digital infrastructure, lack of knowledge and skills for digitalization and regulations,” said Zhang. “If these issues can be addressed in African countries, I believe Africa will catch up in this field.”
“China is a reliable friend to Africa, and their cooperation will continuously provide momentum for Africa’s development of the digital economy,” Zhang said.