The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Ali Ibrahim, on Saturday, highlighted the importance of digital economy in Nigeria.
The Minister spoke at Digital Nigeria Day, and United Nation’s World Development Information Day Celebration in Abuja.
The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof Umat Danbatta and the Director-General of the Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA Inuwa Abdullahi were the Chairman and co-Chairman of the organizing committee of the event.
The Minister simply defined a digital economy as any aspect of the economy that is based on or driven by digital technologies.
He pointed out that digital economies are recognized as the single most important drivers of innovation, competitiveness and growth for any economy.
He said the global digital economy makes up a significant proportion of the global economy, quoting a report by Oxford Economics as valuing the digital economy at $11.5 trillion as at 2016, or approximately 16% of the value of the global economy with the digital economy growing 2.5 times faster than global GDP over the past 15 years.
Also quoting McKinsey, the minister pointed out that the digital economy in Africa is expected to grow to over $300 billion by 2025.
“The World Economic Forum also predicts that over 60% of global GDP will be digitized by 2022 and that within the next decade, digital platforms will be used to create close to 70% of new value,” he said.
“We are also witnesses to how the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the adoption of digital technologies.
“All these show the great value of the digital economy and serve as an incentive for countries to prioritize its development.
“The Digital Economy has also proven to be a veritable platform for the creation of jobs. For example, in 2017 alone, the digital economy contributed 5.1 million jobs to the economy of the United States.
“An official report in China also noted that digital economy created 191 million jobs in the country in 2018 and this was about 25% of the total employment generated that year.
“Furthermore, the recent changes in work patterns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have also shown that the development of digital economies are no longer a luxury, rather they have become a necessity.
“Nigeria’s Digital Economy Journey
Bearing in mind the importance of a digital economy, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, approved our request to redesignate the Federal Ministry of Communications as the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy on the 17th of October, 2019.
“The change was officially endorsed at the Federal Executive Council on the 23rd of October, 2019 and the process of implementing a digital economy for the country began on the 24th of October, 2019, which was approved as the Digital Nigeria Day.
“The redesignated Ministry also had an added mandate of developing the digital economy in line with the focus of the Federal Government and the first step was the development of a Policy and Strategy to drive the development of the Digital Economy.
The redesignation reflects the focus of Mr President to lay emphasis on the need to build a digital economy, addressing the new mandate of the Ministry; communications addressing the channel, digital addressing the nature of the content and economy reflects the central focus of the activities of the Ministry, which is the development of the economy in line with the policies of the Federal Government…” Pantami, who was the chief host of the event, added.