The is an overview of the 8 pillars of the national digital economy strategy by the Honourable Minister of Communication and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), which was provide during a press briefing which occur during the meeting with members of the Abuja Chapter of the Nigerian Information Technology Reporters Association early this year at Treasure Suites, Maitama, Abuja.
Brief introduction about the New Minister and Ministry
Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim, with a Doctorate from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland and In 2016, he was appointed as the Director-General/CEO of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). As a Technocrat we want to believe that all his knowledge, exposure, and experience will be put into the Federal Ministry and there will be a change in ICT in Nigeria. The Ministry was changed from the Ministry of communication to the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy. This is significant as it enables Information and Communication Technology (ICT) which is the most diverse and fastest-growing sector to mobilise other sectors and align with the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the Federal Government. Following the re-designation, the Ministry developed a national digital economy strategy. This, he said, was done by the Ministry and unveiled by the President at the e-Nigeria Conference in November 2019.
The Eight (8) Strategy Goals
Minister Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim, stated that the implementation of the strategy had started and Here are the 8 Pillar of the National Digital Economy Strategy Goals
- Developmental Regulation: Developing regulation that promotes and supports development. “This means online communications and transactions should focus on and encourage digital economy and ensure taxes and prices come down because when prices come down, demand goes up” and entrepreneurs make more profit by the sheer increase in the volume of trade. It is simple economics and not social media restriction.
- Digital Literacy and Skills: This is important because the digital economy is unrealisable without skills and rightful education. To achieve this the minister said different sections of the population are targeted for training and retraining, including women, youths, journalists, civil servants and those who are certificated but unemployed.
- Solid Infrastructure: The ministry promises to ensure the availability of robust data centers and deals with broadband expansion. Which includes the 2020-2025 Broadband Plan which is expected to be ready within the first quarter of 2020 and the plan is to ensure that all unserved and underserved areas have access to broadband services.
- Service Infrastructure: This pillar focused on facilitating digitisation of activities that will find deeper expression in e-health, e-agriculture, security, and other automated transactions. The minister accentuated the connection of automation to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by stating that studies by International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and other development agencies have revealed that a 10 percent increase in broadband penetration could increase GDP by up to 2.5 percent.
- Promotion of Digital Services: This pillar is to ensure increased digitisation of activities in every area and aspect of the country.
- Software Infrastructure: This pillar focuses on cybersecurity awareness to ensure the security of activities in cyberspace.
- Digital Society and Emerging Technologies: This is to encourage start-ups to support our innovators, so they can deploy their inventions in Nigeria. the Minister envisioned that Nigeria will explore quantifiable terms, cloud computing an area where he did his Doctorate (Ph.D.), nanotechnology, Fifth Generation (5G) communications, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics. Illustrating the benefits of deployment of and access to 5G.
- Indigenous Content Development: The ministry believes that this will help the youths especially by using their skills and creative energy for innovation and technology development, the minister said Nigeria needs to create and promote indigenous technology and use them locally. Nigeria is so blessed and needs to leverage that potential to ensure her teaming youths acquire enduring “skills that will make them to be potential employers rather than potential employees”.
According to the minister, digital innovation and digital entrepreneurship is an important solution to increase the country GDP. The minister made a comparison between Nigeria and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) by stating that Nigeria’s GDP is $397 billion while MIT’s GDP is about five times higher. He attributed the disparity largely to inputs of digital innovation and entrepreneurship. (NCC 2020)
It was evident the minister looks ready to make changes and we hope his enthusiasm is met with enthusiasm Nigerian by supporting the digital economy