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Africans urged to embrace digital currencies to accelerate economic recovery

Africans have been asked to embrace use of digital currency to accelerate the economic recovery following adverse effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Hanu Fejiro Agbodje, the founder and CEO of Patricia Technologies Limited, a fintech solutions provider based in Nigeria, made the appeal at the Africa Digital Finance Summit in Nairobi.

Agbodje told Africans to embrace the various emerging technologies to promote soci-economic transformation in the post-Covid era.

“In order to positively chart the trajectory of the social economic growth in Africa, we need to leverage on the convergence of various transformational technologies,” said Agbodje.

Participants at the summit noted an impressive growth in financial inclusion in Africa in the last few years which has been driven primarily by adaptation of technologies such as mobile money.

They however challenged nationals of the various countries on the continent to do more to increase access to information and education related to blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

“We have made tremendous progress over the years. However, there is room to continue making more progress in digitisation of finance in Africa,” said Dr Olufunso Somorin, Regional Principal Officer at the African Development Bank.

He noted that the future of finance lies in development of digital infrastructure and enhanced digital currencies information, with many African countries working towards developing and enhancing digital versions of their currencies.

Speaking at the event, Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja asked African governments not to punish digital innovations and instead view them as key enablers to post Covid-19 economic recovery.

Sakaja vowed to rally legislators to review the Finance Act 2020, which he says is limiting innovations at the time joblessness is on the rise in the country.

“The digital innovations especially in the financial sector provide much-needed transaction solutions while creating jobs. Introducing taxes in that area is futile,” Sakaja said.

The Finance Act 2020 introduced a digital service tax (DST) on income from services provided on the digital platforms in Kenya by applying 1.5 per cent on the gross transaction value (exclusive of VAT) and took effect on January 1.