The director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has opined that the adoption of digital technologies presents more opportunities for Africa to partake in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), providing an avenue for the continent to diversify and further boost its economy.
Speaking during the 9th Annual Summit of Africa Information and Communication Technologies Alliance (AfICTA) webinar themed “Accelerated Digitalization for Economic Revolution in Africa: Prospects and Challenges”, he said implementing a nationwide digital transformation was no straightforward venture.
According to him, it is plagued with intricacies, risks and other encumbrances. African leaders must champion digitalisation by first, showing commitment and willingness to engender and support the culture of digitalisation.
The DG added that Nigeria is regarded as Africa’s largest ICT market with 82 per cent of the continent’s telecommunication subscribers and 29 per cent of internet usage, while sub-Saharan Africa is projected to be the fastest-growing region with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.6 per cent and an additional subscriber’s enrolment of over 167 million in the next five years.
The NITDA boss asserted that the adoption of digital technologies may help increase the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of any country and the development of digital technologies will further help diversify its exports, thus increasing sources of foreign exchange earnings.
“Nigeria’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) document by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has presented strategic pillars necessary for the nation’s digitalisation drive, which includes; developmental regulation, digital literacy and skills, solid infrastructure, service infrastructure, digital society and emerging technologies and indigenous content development and adoption. These 8 strategic pillars were further broken down into strategy documents by agencies under the ministry for implementation
“NITDA has developed a Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP, 2021-2024) towards the implementation of the NDEPS. There are various projects and programs designed to give effect to the SRAP document. Other sister agencies under the ministry also have strategic initiatives as well,” he said.
Represented by the acting director, digital economy department, Engr. Salisu Kaka, Abdullahi said accelerating the digitalisation of the economy of any nation is not a responsibility of the government alone.
“There is the strong need for any serious government to make a deliberate effort to identify relevant entities that can be instrumental to the achievement of a national digitalisation and engaged them continuously. Thus, the effort put in place by AfICTA is a step in the right direction and Africa as a continent should be proud of AfICTA,” he added.