Digital Trust Chair

The Foundation for Studies and Research on International Development (FERDI) and Be-Ys are combining their efforts on the digital transformation of African economies.

FERDI and Be-Ys, the international group which is pioneering secure and controlled digital transactions, share the conviction that digital trust is a real opportunity for Africa to reposition itself in the global economic hierarchy.

FERDI and Be-Ys have joined forces to study, analyze, understand, and formulate recommendations to promote the digital transformation of African economies.

Digital Trust: An Opportunity for Africa

In Africa, digital growth prospects, as well as the need for investment and appropriate reforms, are important. 

By contributing to the emergence and diffusion of innovations in trade, agriculture, financial services, or transport and contributing to the modernization of public administrations (including tax administrations) the digitization of the economy is revolutionizing economic exchanges and stimulating growth, employment, and poverty reduction.

It is now generally accepted that the digital revolution could be more a revolution for developing countries, especially African countries, than for of industrialized countries. 

However, the issue is not only technological. 

Digital Trust - built on four pillars - network integrity and quality of service, privacy and data protection, protection of childhood, and prevention of piracy and theft - is an essential factor in the development of digital technology.

Objective of the Digital Trust Chair

The objective of the FERDI Digital Trust Chair is to develop technological solutions to meet the needs, expectations, and economic interests of African countries. 

The Chair's work focuses on several issues: 

  • the massification of access to essential services (education, health, etc), 
  • the improvement of SME access to the market and to financing
  • the direct and indirect creation of jobs.

The Digital Chair is co-directed by Jenny C. Aker, Professor at Tufts University and Fatoumata Ba, founder of the Janngo investment fund. 

Achievements 2021-2022

A draft book on mobile phones and development in Africa, co-edited by Jenny Aker and Joël Cariolle, has passed the refereeing process and been accepted by Palgrave Macmillan academic publishing. This book, which is currently being written, brings together, updates, and synthesises the key elements of the Chair's reports.

A study on the digital divide and resilience to Covid-19 in the Francophone space is being carried out at the request of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. This study will be presented in a parallel session at UNCTAD and the WTO during 2022 and 2023, and at the postponed Fifth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (initially scheduled for the end of January 2022).

A working paper (and associated brief) on “How internet helped firms to cope with COVID-19 has been produced, presented at a seminar, and submitted to an academic review.


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