Digitisation, Nigeria’s alternative to oil

In recent years, digitisation has emerged as a key economic driver that accelerates growth and facilitates job creation across the globe and experts in Nigeria are saying that given the country’s sluggish economy, digitisation can play an important role in assisting policymakers to spur economic growth and employment.

A Booz & Company’s econometric analysis estimates that, despite the unfavourable global economic climate, digitisation contributed $193 billion to global economy in 2011 and created six million jobs in that same year. And according to a Forbes report, digitisation adoption in the Middle East and North Africa alone resulted in an extra $16.5 billion in output and nearly 380,000 new jobs.

There’s no gainsaying that digitisation is fundamentally reshaping business models, lowering barriers to entry and expanding market reach for enterprises. In fact, it is changing the way companies manage their production assets, enabling companies develop the best design and user interface, studies have shown. Nigeria’s Printivo, Hotelsng, Andela and co readily come to mind.

A year ago, Nigeria’s earnings from crude oil exports were negatively affected, losing $22.53 million (about N4.48 billion) in June 2015. This has forced the government to urgently look into diversifying the economy with special focus on agriculture and other sectors of the economy.

Although the diversification programmes are commendable, stakeholders find it curious that Nigeria’s government, despite remarkable growth experience of its ICT industry, is not leveraging on the industry to push its diversification goals.

Throughout the world, ICT continues to proliferate at breakneck speed so much so that by 2012, the number of mobile lines worldwide was more than six billion—nearly as many as the global population of around seven billion, according to a Booz & Company report.

Although internet penetration is not as deep, an increase of more than 20-fold during the past decade in regions such as the Middle East and Africa, gives an opportunity to policy makers around the world, especially in these continents to revaluate their strategies on employment, per capita growth and their continent’s developmental goals, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s 2013 Global Information Technology Report.

As has been established, access to ICT services is no longer the primary issue facing policymakers, “the critical question is how to maximise the adoption, utilisation, and impact of these services.”

Digitisation, a key driver and enabler of socioeconomic benefits, according to WEF’s report, may just be a key to maximise the adoption, utilisation, and impact of these services.

To be continued next week.