Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, today, Monday 15th November 2021, delivered the Guest Lecture at the 2021 International Conference on Computing and Advances in Information Technology (ICCAIT). organised by the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. The Guest Speaker shared from his wealth of experience dissecting the topic “ICT as an Enabler for the Digital Economy: The Nigerian Story”.

In his presentation, the Honourable Minister illustrated the importance of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in improving the resilience of the Nigerian economy, while reiterating the importance of cybersecurity in developing a sustainable digital economy and the giant strides made in Nigeria. He noted that the adoption and deployment of ICT contributes significantly to economic growth and development because it drives innovation, improves quality of life, creates jobs and reduces the cost in many sectors of the economy, allowing for greater interconnection of global markets Countries are now able to create new technological platforms and industries on one hand, while enhancing the efficiency and productivity of existing industries on the other. Technologies such as Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, Robotics, 3D printing, Block Chain, Artificial Intelligence to mention a few, have the potential to act as impact amplifiers, challenging traditional approaches of going about ‘age old problems’ in sectors such as agriculture, financial services, healthcare, education, water, and energy.

Furthermore, the Guest Speaker noted that the emergence, adoption and deployment of ICT has shifted the traditional economy into a digitalized one – that is the Digital Economy – and this has led to economic prosperity around the world. Nigeria’s commitment to developing its digital economy is expected to open up opporunities in Africa’s digital economy, which McKinsey estimates will grow to over $300 billion by 2025.

The Honourable Minister noted the impact of the COVID-19 on enhancing digitilisation while also increasing the need for greater vigilance against the growing cyber threats. He also outlined some of the efforts of the Federal Government towards improving cybersecurity in Nigeria, including the implementation of relevant policies, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria and the Revised National Digital Economy Policy for SIM Registration. The efforts towards the promotion of sectoral Computer Emergency Readiness & Response Teams (CERRTs) and the focus on Data and Privacy Protection were also discussed.

The Conference was graced by the the top management of the Ahmadu Bello University and experts in the ICT sector. The Honourable Minister, while thanking the organisers for organising the Conference reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to strengthening the digital economy and cybersecurity in the country through policy implementation, capacity building and forging relevant partnerships.

Uwa Suleiman

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