Nigeria can use the digital economy to boost innovation and drive development, says NITDA. The Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Kashifu Inuwa made the remarks in Abuja on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Inuwa spoke on the topic “Building a New Africa with AI and Blockchain” at the 2021 Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition.
He stated that leveraging artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and other digital tools would lead to Nigeria’s economic diversification.
Inuwa stated that with Africa’s growing population and dwindling oil revenue in a country like Nigeria, there is a need to diversify the economy through other means.
“Digital technologies are changing the world at a faster rate than previous waves of technological innovation,” he explained.
“By developing a digital-led growth strategy for the Nigerian economy, Nigeria can accelerate growth and modernize its economy.
“It is important to note that, despite the economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of the growth observed in the economies was from viable digital economies.
“Because the digital economy has been identified as a growth engine, Nigeria can harness it as a driver of growth and innovation.”
According to Inuwa, the World Bank’s Digital Economy for Africa (DE4A) initiative recognized that the digital economy could help accelerate the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“For Nigeria, a country in dire need to diversify its economy, digital economic activities are key for diversification because they transcend all aspect of human endeavours and the economic sector,” he added.
According to Inuwa, the conference served as a gathering place for professionals, practitioners, and policymakers to discuss the best ways to leverage digital technology.
He explained that the agency works with relevant stakeholders and researchers to ensure that artificial intelligence, blockchain, and other emerging technologies support the country’s economic diversification and sustainability plan.
He urged the event’s participants to form the necessary partnerships and collaborations in order to make Nigeria a leading knowledge and digital economy by 2030.
In his keynote address, Umar Danbatta, executive vice-chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), stated that African countries, including Nigeria, must be prepared to capitalize on the massive revenue in AI and blockchain technologies.
“Adoption of AI solutions is required to skyrocket in the coming years, and competition among major AI companies is expected to be fierce,” he said.
“According to a recent Markets and Markets (M&M) report, the global AI market is expected to grow from 58.3 billion dollars in 2021 to 309.6 billion dollars by 2026.
“It is a compound with a 39.7 percent growth rate during the forecast period.”