Stronger partnerships for a prosperous digital future

AU-EU Digital for Development (D4D) Hub | Annual report 2022

A woman is taking a photo of a panel discussion.

For five years, Africa and Europe have embarked on a journey to deepen their digital cooperation and shape a joint digital future – a future where digital advancements foster innovation and job creation, contribute to building more inclusive societies, and accelerate the green transition.

In 2022, the AU-EU D4D Hub consolidated its role as an enabler of this shared vision. Serving as an entry point to access technical expertise on human-centric digital transformation, the project has become a dynamic facilitator of collaboration between Team Europe (including the European Union and its Member States) and African countries. As such, its activities contribute to strengthening the AU-EU strategic partnership and meeting the ambitions of the Global Gateway.

Key milestones achieved in 2022 include the coordination of the Africa-Europe D4D Hub Multi-Stakeholder Forum, the launch of the D4D Access knowledge platform, and the rolling out of demand-driven technical assistance. 

As a result of a firm commitment to tailoring its services to meet countries’ needs, the AU-EU D4D Hub has contributed to finding synergies between African and European institutions and creating new opportunities for partnerships in the digital field – a valuable undertaking that will continue throughout 2023.

Working with African partners as Team Europe

The AU-EU D4D Hub brings together eight European organisations responsible for jointly implementing the project activities. This setup leverages their digital expertise, networks, and resources to better respond to African partners’ priorities.

Putting digital transformation into action: Technical assistance missions

The AU-EU D4D Hub project provides demand-driven technical assistance to African institutions with the objective of supporting their digital transformation journey.

In 2022, the project undertook five technical assistance missions, deploying a pool of experts to support countries in drafting digital transformation plans, assessing needs, and preparing action plans. The technical assistance missions conducted by the AU-EU D4D Hub were embedded into larger cooperation frameworks between African and European partners to ensure the sustainability of the actions.

In focus: Rwanda and France sign a new deal to improve digital public services and support innovations with high development potential

As part of the AU-EU D4D Hub project, the French Development Agency (AFD) led a technical assistance mission at the request of the Ministry of ICT and Innovation of Rwanda. Conducted from June to December 2023, its purpose was to assess (a) the feasibility of modernising public institutions’ local networks and structuring a Geospatial Hub, and (b) the environmental and social impact of a drone operations centre.

After the validation of the findings of the AU-EU D4D Hub mission, the Government of Rwanda and AFD signed an investment deal to finance a series of follow-up activities that will further support Rwanda’s digital transformation.

Learning from each other’s experiences: Knowledge sharing activities

One of the main priorities of the AU-EU D4D Hub is to promote exchanges of good practices and lessons learned on digitalisation.

In 2022, the project organised six workshops and study trips for policymakers and practitioners to learn and share their experiences in digitalising public services, leveraging digital technologies for innovation and entrepreneurship, and protecting citizens’ data.

In focus: AU-EU D4D Hub launches new knowledge sharing platform “D4D Access”

In November 2022, the AU-EU D4D Hub launched a new online platform aimed at facilitating exchanges of knowledge between African and European digital actors – a response to a growing demand for opportunities to learn about other countries’ digital transformation journeys.

Called D4D Access, the platform covers a wide range of topics, from e-governance to digital entrepreneurship, and is open to all African and European organisations to share their knowledge resources, allowing them to reach new audiences, increase their visibility, host their content, and showcase their expertise.

Connecting digital actors in Africa and Europe: Multi-stakeholder dialogues

The AU-EU D4D Hub facilitates formal exchanges between governments, civil society, the private sector, and academia with the purpose of encouraging the meaningful participation of all digital stakeholders in policymaking.

In 2022, the project organised six multi-stakeholder dialogues, both at the national and regional levels. The dialogues provided a platform for different actors to discuss collaborations, fostering debate and partnerships on a wide range of topics, such as connectivity, digital entrepreneurship, data governance, cybersecurity, data protection, online disinformation, and e-governance.

In focus: Multi-stakeholder dialogue brings African and European digital actors to the table

Co-hosted by the African Union and the European Union, the first Africa-Europe D4D Hub Multi-Stakeholder Forum (MSF) took place on 18 March 2022 with the objective of giving digital stakeholders the opportunity to contribute to joint AU-EU efforts to build a digital economy and society that leaves no one behind.

Facilitated by the AU-EU D4D Hub under the theme "Digital transformation for sustainable development in Africa”, the online event comprised 13 sessions in which 87 speakers and moderators shared their views on connectivity, data governance, digital entrepreneurship and innovation, amongst other topics. 1637 people from 580 organisations joined the event throughout the day.

The MSF also triggered an active conversation on social media, reaching over 821,000 people in the lead-up and during the event.

Building a digital community: Communications and outreach

Engaging with diverse audiences is key to ensuring the inclusivity of the AU-EU D4D Hub activities and increasing the project’s reach.

In 2022, the AU-EU D4D Hub organised five communications campaigns and events, which fostered the participation of youth, women, entrepreneurs, and journalists in policy discussions. These activities fostered a broad debate in key topics for the project – including human-centric digital transformation, online disinformation, e-governance, and the gender digital divide.

In focus: Inviting bloggers to join the conversation

In the lead-up to its participation at the Internet Governance Conference (IGF) in Addis Ababa, the AU-EU D4D Hub organised a blogging competition aimed at fostering debate and gathering original views on how Africa and Europe can jointly tackle online disinformation through human rights-based actions. The activity was implemented in close collaboration with the European Commission's Directorate-General for International Partnerships.

A total of 89 bloggers from 27 countries sent their submissions 60 per cent of them under 30 years old.

The winner of the competition, Sunday Jerome Salami from Nigeria, joined the AU-EU D4D Hub delegation at IGF.

Some of our favourite moments of 2022