On 3 September 2019, H.E. Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, opened the validation workshop of the new National Digital Roadmap (Plan National du Numérique). This workshop which took place in Kinshasa from 3 to 5 September 2019 had the objective to adopt a national strategic plan to close the digital divide and make digital a lever for integration, good governance, economic growth, and social progress.
The GSMA had the privilege of co-moderating a working group focused on governance and digital regulation. Following the President’s speech on his vision to develop the digital economy, discussions took place on the proposed strategic orientations and objectives identified in the four pillars in the draft strategic plan: Infrastructure, Content, Usage and Applications, Governance.
There were about 250 participants and representatives from public entities (national and regional), private sectors, civil society, NGOs including:
• Digital ecosystem was represented by Africell, Airtel, Facebook, GSMA, Orange and Vodacom
• President’s office representation was led by the President’s Special Advisor on Digital and his cabinet
• Other government agencies were represented among them the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (ARPTC)
• Many experts from the digital ecosystem were in attendance from universities, research institutions, start-ups, etc.
• Representation from neighboring Congo Brazzaville’s Presidency and ICT Ministry was also noted.
Among the main recommendations which came out from the working groups were the reform of the legal and regulatory framework to promote the development of the digital economy, the tax reform to remove the import duty on ICT equipment (laptops, tablet, etc.), and the digitalization of payments systems to be used by the government for more transparency.