Kaljulaid: Africa could overtake Europe in digital world

African Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga and President Kersti Kaljulaid.
African Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga and President Kersti Kaljulaid. Source: (Communication Office of the President of the Republic of Estonia)

President Kersti Kaljulaid is currently on a visit to Ethiopia, where she met in Addis Ababa on Wednesday morning with African Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga to discuss Africa-EU relations, an upcoming summit and the more widespread use of digital technologies.

Muchanda provided the Estonian president with an overview of negotiations concerning the African Free Trading Zone, and Kaljulaid suggested Africa consider allowing the free movement of data, which is currently not yet employed in the EU, according to spokespeople.

"Africa could and should learn from European experiences, and it could benefit much more from modern technologies based on the lessons we have learned," Kaljulaid said. "While we in Europe are still attempting to comprehend what the free movement of data or the fifth freedom would mean in practice and how it should be implemented, African countries have the opportunity to build their digital societies up in ways to allow for maximum benefits. This would represent a real success story and give a very powerful push to the development of the continent, allowing you to overtake Europe in some spheres."

Addressing the various that can be encountered in the cyber world, the Estonian president emphasized the obligation to ensure the secure identification of people on the internet as well as increase the awareness of cyber hygiene.

At their meeting, the two leaders also discussed the upcoming high-level summit between Europe and the African Union as well as Estonia's willingness to help establish a center of excellence for e-governance in the African Union.

Kaljulaid is currently in Africa on a visit to Ethiopia and Rwanda, where she will meet with African Union leaders as well as the heads of state of both countries.

Editor: Aili Vahtla

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