NOVISSI program has propelled Togo to the forefront. This initiative for a solidarity income has indeed met with a significant response throughout Africa. Its success stems less from the amount transferred to the beneficiaries than from the digital service deployed to meet this urgent social need. The trial run is a success and is being emulated in many African countries., facilitate the payment of taxes and provide temporary financial assistance to the most vulnerable households. Among the social responses, the
This program, which supports workers in the informal sector affected by the containment measures, is fully implemented digitally, allowing a fast, transparent and traceable transfer of financial resources to the beneficiaries. Registration is done through a mobile system using quick codes and transfers from the government to the individual are made through mobile money accounts. The adoption and use of digital technologies presage greater efficiency in the production process, improved quality of services, and increased transparency and accountability.
While the latest economic outlook reveals the significant impact of the global health crisis on economic activity in Togo, leveraging digital transformation is essential to strengthen the resilience of the economy, improve competitiveness, and increase innovation, productivity, and job creation. According to World Bank Group estimates, .
In addition, the adoption and use of digital technologies would improve the efficiency and quality of public services and enhance transparency and accountability. Currently, however, the penetration rate of mobile broadband is 20%, placing Togo in 28th place in sub-Saharan Africa, while 3G and 4G cover only 65% and 10% of the population, respectively.
Moreover, the country is among the African countries where Internet connection is the most expensive. For example, the cost charged to Togolese cell phone users for data is twice as high as in countries such as Rwanda and three to seven times higher than in Tunisia, Morocco or Botswana. The issue of skills is equally important, particularly for the development of digital entrepreneurship and to facilitate the widespread use of digital solutions both in public administration (health, education, governance, taxes) and in the private sector (finance, trade, etc.).
The World Bank Group's June 2020 survey on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the private sector reveals that only 2.8% of the workforce has been working remotely since the beginning of the crisis and that only 8.6% of companies use digital platforms for sales.
It is therefore time to remove the main obstacles to the development of the digital economy in Togo. In particular, by filling the infrastructure gap through investments in the development of the broadband network throughout the country.
To remedy this and fully exploit the potential of digital technology in Togo, three priorities are necessary. First, improving the coverage and reliability of an affordable Internet network requires increased competition both in terms of service offerings and infrastructure. Second, it is essential to develop human capital by integrating training in digital tools and skills at all levels of the education system. Finally, encouraging digital entrepreneurship is necessary to stimulate innovation and provide solutions adapted to local issues in areas as varied as financial services (mobile money and banking), renewable energies, education (e-learning) and health (remote diagnostics). This involves supporting start-ups in terms of training, adapted financial support and the creation of market opportunities, including through public procurement.
While the transformative influence of digital is no longer in doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic reminds us of the need to accelerate the digitization of services in order to exploit the immense potential of the digital economy.
Did you know that the cost charged to Togolese cell phone users for data is twice as high as in Rwanda? How to change the game?