Many Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, including Guinea-Bissau, lack the requisite enabling environment to capture a larger fraction of the global digital economy or benefit from its gains and are thus at increasing risk of being left behind. Rapid digital transformation is reshaping the global economy, driving financing inclusion, closing information gaps between buyers and sellers, and changing the way economies of scale are achieved. In many, although certainly not all, parts of the continent, access to and affordability of broadband internet remains low; for that matter, even access to electricity is low, preventing Africans from being able to go online. Most public services remain offline, and many Africans lack digital identity or mobile wallets to take advantage of digital financial or other services. Digital skills and literacy remain weak. Finally, although venture capital investment on the continent continues to grow, 2021 witnessed 681 rounds of fundraising across 640 startups, totaling US5.2 billion dollars in equity raised, according to the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, structural constraints prevent businesses from taking greater advantage of the digital economy. Of the 716 financial technology (fintech) companies currently operating in SSA, only 5 percent have scaled. In this context, the WBG has undertaken this digital economy diagnostic of Guinea-Bissau under the leadership of the Ministry of Transport and Communication and the Vice Prime Minister. Based on desk research, virtual and in person interviews with a wide range of public and private sector stakeholders, and an April 2022 field mission to discuss preliminary findings and proposed recommendations, this report analyzes the constraints in each of the five foundational pillar and puts forward actionable recommendations categorized by priority level and sequencing. Overall, it aims to inform the national dialogue, as well as next steps, around Guinea-Bissau’s digital transformation, a policy agenda in which the Government of Guinea Bissau (GoGB) has expressed keen interest.
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