Digital Transformation: Washington’s Rewired Diplomacy in Africa

Digital Transformation: Washington’s Rewired Diplomacy in Africa

Virtual Briefing Series

Tuesday, July 16th, 2024 | 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM ET

In December 2022, the U.S. – Africa Leaders Summit launched the Digital Transformation with Africa (DTA) initiative, catalyzing over $350 million in investment and $450 million in finance mobilization. The DTA is expected to expand digital access and literacy and strengthen digital enabling environments across Africa. Many experts also see this as an opportunity for the U.S. to balance with China regarding technology investment in the continent. What has been accomplished since the DTA launched? What perspectives do African countries have on this initiative? How is and can the private sector effectively engage with DTA? How does the DTA fit into geopolitical competition on the continent?
Join us on Tuesday, July 16 from 12 to 1 PM ET for a conversation where Dr. Jane Munga, Fellow in the Africa Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Mr. Rob Floyd, Director for Innovation and Digital Policy at the African Center for Economic Transformation, and Ms. Pren-Tsilya Boa-Guehe, Google’s Head for Pan-African Institutions, Government Affairs & Public Policy where they will talk about these questions and more.

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Rob Floyd

Rob Floyd is the Director for innovation and digital policy at the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET). In this role, he has led the development of a new program supporting Africa’s digital transformation through informed policy for accelerated innovation and technology upgrading. This is the first such practice at a pan-African policy institute, with anchor programs on AI in economic policymaking, digital infrastructure, and technology-enabled green industrialization. ACET has undertaken Africa’s first AI challenges for regional infrastructure and digital skills, while championing frontier issues such as digital industrial hubs and Africa’s digital single market.
Rob previously served as an ACET Director and Senior Advisor from July 2017 to July 2021. In that role, he supported ACET’s efforts to develop strategic partnerships, enhance its profile, and deepen the ACET business model. He led much of ACET’s work on infrastructure and investment, including the G20 Compact with Africa (CwA) and ACET’s program on infrastructure project cycles. Rob also led ACET’s work on blended finance, industrial innovation, and COVID-19 response.
An economist and journalist by training, Rob joined ACET from the World Bank. He began his World Bank career in the Africa Region, serving as an economist in the office of the Vice President, and then as a public sector specialist for Southern and Eastern Africa. He was Chief of Staff to two World Bank Presidents, James Wolfensohn and Paul Wolfowitz, and later oversaw the Bank’s $2 billion annual lending programs to Pakistan and Bangladesh as Country Coordinator, including serving as interim Country Director in Bangladesh in 2009-2010.
In 2010, Rob joined the World Bank Institute as Operations Manager and later was appointed as Director for Strategy and Operations. His last position at the World Bank was as Director for Operations and Strategy for Finance in the office of the World Bank Managing Director and CFO. Prior to the World Bank, Rob worked for GIC Group, a global consulting firm, and Sandler, Travis and Rosenberg, LLC, a law firm specializing in international trade issues. As a journalist in the early 1990s, he covered international agricultural issues from Switzerland, Thailand, and Australia.

Dr. Jane Munga

Dr. Jane Munga is a fellow at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Jane leads the technology stream in the Africa program. Her research focuses on the continents digital economy, tech policy, inclusivity, the enabling environment, and digital collaborations. Her research seeks to provide new knowledge and perspectives that can help catapult Africa’s digital transformation.
Jane’s career has focused on policymaking emphasizing on the potential of digital technologies for digital transformation. Jane has previously worked for the Government of Kenya as an Advisor in the Ministry of ICT Innovation and Youth Affairs, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Interior. She also served as an Economic Expert at the National Communications Secretariat, an ICT policy advisory body for the Government of Kenya. In this capacity, she focused on developing digital economy policies which included Kenya’s Digital Economy Blueprint for Africa, by Smart Africa which led her to be awarded the Head of State Commendation (HSC). Jane holds a Doctor of Philosophy in political science and government and master’s degrees in economics and management from the University of Alabama and bachelor’s degrees in international studies and business administration from Stillman College, USA.

Ms. Pren-Tsilya Boa-Guehe

Pren-Tsilya Boa-Guehe is Google’s Head for Pan-African Institutions, Government Affairs & Public Policy, where she oversees policy engagement with the African Union Commission, UN Economic Commission for Africa, African Development Bank, among other regional organizations. For nearly two decades, Pren-Tsilya Boa-Guehe has helped to advance humanitarian, economic, health, environmental, and tech policies in Africa. This included through diplomatic roles as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Organizations, Bureau of African Affairs, and overseas assignments in Mali, Morocco, and Ethiopia. While serving as Economic Officer at the U.S. Mission to the African Union, Pren-Tsilya spearheaded U.S. commercial advocacy efforts on the African Continental Free Trade Area. Before joining the State Department, she led a non-profit organization that provided humanitarian assistance in Cote d’Ivoire.



Creator: Russell Watkins
Copyright: Russell Watkins/DFID


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