Nigeria’s Minister for Communications and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has declared that Nigeria needs to reboot the entire ecosystem with digital technology in order to survive the present regressive economic outlook as a result of Covid-19 disruption.
The Minister stated this recently at the 2nd edition of the Re-Ignite Public Affairs National Dialogue Series held in partnership with Businessday Media. “Since the global lockdown earlier in the year, digital commerce has become the most efficient growth area providing the world new ways of doing things as encapsulated in the ‘New Normal’ pseudo phrase”, Dr. Pantami disclosed.
With the theme “Nigeria at 60 – Rebooting Nigeria’s economy the way forward”, the Honorable Minister who was represented by his Technical Assistant on Info-Tech, Dr. Olufemi Adeluyi, highlighted the National digital economy policy and strategy which would help move the Nigerian economy sector forward. He stated that the policy is hinged on 8 pillars which includes: the developmental regulation pillar, digital literacy and skills pillar, solid infrastructure pillar, service infrastructure pillar, digital services development and promotion pillar, soft infrastructure pillar, digital society and emerging technology pillar, indigenous content development and adoption pillar. In conclusion he said the Nigerian economy needs a soft rebooting which can only be achieved through an economy driven by digital technology.
The program had other eminent member of faculty selected from among tech, creative, oil and gas, financial and digital experts and entrepreneurs who provided perspectives on why government should create enabling policy environment for business enterprises to thrive within the digital space.
The faculty of discussants are Adia Sowho, Teleco expert and former Director of Digital Business at Etisalat Nigeria; Obi Asika Nigerian creative industries entrepreneur and founder/CEO of Dragon Africa and Storm Productions. A Policy Analyst and General Counsel at Gulf of Guinea Consulting Najim Animashaun; and Abolore Salami, a financial expert both shared perspectives from other markets and the need for government to create enabling regulatory and policy environment. The webinar was moderated by technology entrepreneur Chineye Mba-Uzoukwu.
They all enumerated challenges that are inhibiting digital growth in private and public sectors in Nigeria. They also emphasised the need for continuous education of the users and also, the struggles that Telco companies in the country are facing despite the perception that they are making money.
An interesting standpoint was also made by Obi Asika an expert from the creative industry. Obi Asika’s point was majorly on connected thinking and collaboration; connecting Nigeria digitally and a collaboration between the public and private sector.
Salami expressed reality of what needed to be done to make digital technology drive Nigeria’s economy successfully into the future, while relating to older Nigerians. Policy expert, Najim Animashaun with experience in the oil and gas sector, elucidated why Nigeria needs to capitalize on the ICT sector for a reboot of the economy. He advised that the Nigerian government needs to diversify the economy in the wake of the rise in ICT and declination of oil as a percentage of the Nigerian GDP.
Also, in his welcome remarks, Franklyn Ginger-Eke, the Executive Director and COO of Re-Ignite Public Affairs Limited, convener of the Re-Ignite Public Affairs National Dialogue Series, welcomed all participants and disclosed that the 7 series virtual conference is being conveyed in celebration of the 60th independent anniversary of Nigeria. He disclosed that the series, having considered themes such as Education, Economy, will still examine other sectoral issues themed along Infrastructure, Health, Agri-Business, Governance and Security.
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