Digital Disruption in Africa: Mapping Innovations for the AfCFTA in Post-COVID Times

Potential use of AI to analyse crop data. Image: Getty, Igor Borisenko
Potential use of AI to analyse crop data. Image: Getty, Igor Borisenko

This paper looks at the development of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in Africa against the backdrop of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and makes proposals for policymakers.


  • In Rwanda, the weekly volume of mobile money transfers has shot up fivefold during the lockdown, while in Kenya the central bank has measured a 10% rise in the number of such transfers. 
  • Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) take centre stage in global discussions around the future of money, exploring the potential impact of using digital currency for financial inclusion, monetary policy and financial stability.
  • The governments of Ghana, Tanzania and Rwanda plunged into digital innovation by using drones and other technologies to deliver food, medication and other materials to rural communities. 
  • Countries like Kenya have been innovative in tackling the digital divide and connecting its people to mobile services.
  • Countries like South Africa and Morocco have commissioned national studies on the potential effects of and policies on the 4IR. 
  • African start-ups are leading the way in using blockchain to enable African economies to fully unlock the socio-economic potential of their land and create ethical land markets.