The European Union will over the next two years invest $47.46 billion into Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt and Kenya to drive digital market growth in Africa.
The Vice President, EU, Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip over the weekend in Lagos, said the fund will be available for disbursement in the first quarter of 2018, and will help mitigate illegal migration by Africans, and attract foreign direct investments (FDIs) to the continent.
He said: “Our aim is to help developing economies. We have decided to create the European external investment fund which is targeted at covering main risks to attract private investment. This kind of fund was really efficient in the European Union where we created investment for strategic investment and we believe this fund will go a long way to help the African economy.”
He added that the fund would go a long way in reducing the number of refugees who seek greener pastures in European countries, saying that in the last two years, Europe has experienced the greatest mass movement of people since the Second World War.
Ansip noted further that with over more than one million refugees and migrants arrival in the EU, the fund meant for supporting development in African countries will be beneficial to the European countries.
“As you know today that most people in Africa prefer to leave African countries to seek greener pastures in European countries. We are faced with lots of refugee crisis. To tackle this menace, we can provide some help to those countries to help build their economies instead of seeking refuge in Europe,” he said.
On digital industry, Ansip further said, “Our aim is to support digital development in Africa and also help to build healthy economies in developing countries. The EU is the biggest donor of digital development aids. We believe the fragment of digital aid is little in developing countries, this is where we are. The European Union wants to support digital development in Africa. We will like to provide financing to build strong and healthier economies in developing countries in Africa.” He said digital development in Nigeria and in other African countries has grown rapidly, noting that internet penetration has grown to over 80% where 100% of Nigerians now have access to Internet services.
“The development was much more rapid when compared to Europe. I believe in digital development for the bright future of Africa,” he said.
While the funds are important for economic development, he stressed that ideas and how to cooperate with other African countries is even more critical to get more assistance of development funds.
“African countries must create, he noted, the right environment for digital development, create an effective regulatory environment that would have a much bigger influence than funds in the future of African countries.” he added.