• NDPC lists finance, literacy as challenges
He said huge economic potential awaits if Nigeria and others can strategically position themselves in the region’s digital economy, stressing that this was driven by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
Already, the World Bank predicts that the AfCFTA offers African countries a huge opportunity to lift 30 million people out of extreme poverty and raise the incomes of the 68 million people living on less than $5.50 a day.
In addition, the World Bank says, with AfCFTA implementation, trade facilitation measures that cut red tape and simplify customs procedures will drive $292 billion of the $450 billion in potential revenue gains.
Therefore, Shailan, who spoke as a panelist at the Telecommunications Forum in Lagos, said the implementation of the AfCFTA would help African countries undertake the deep reforms needed to promote long-term growth. He disclosed that non-harmonization of various trade policies in the region would cause major setbacks in reaping the benefits.
Emphasizing the importance of harmonizing data regulation in the region, the Meta chairman said currently 35 African countries have different data regulations unlike the European Union (EU) which has only one data regulation.
According to him, Africa needs to harmonize data regulation to benefit greatly from the potential of the region.
„The free flow of data across the region is essential to boost business. While data should be protected, a restricted data ecosystem is a huge problem for Nigeria and others. Data that is kept stagnant does not make it valuable until it is used,” he said.
Also speaking, the National Commissioner, Nigeria Data Protection Commission (NDPC), Dr. Vincent Olatunji said the global digital economy is expanding at an extraordinary pace.
According to the World Economic Forum, in 2019, the global digital economy was valued at $11.5 trillion, rising to $14.5 trillion in 2021 and projected to reach $20.8 trillion by 2025.
At the same time, Oladunji said the global data economy is estimated to be worth $3 trillion, stressing that data has emerged as a critical strategic asset for building personal and societal value.
„Currently, we are witnessing unparalleled technological progress driven by the power of data. As of October 2021, Forbes estimates that more than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated daily,” he said.
According to him, Nigeria’s digital economy is on a rapid upward trajectory, driven by increased internet access, mobile technology, a thriving startup ecosystem and government support.
However, he said the digital economy is challenged by infrastructure gaps, funding, digital literacy, cyber security threats and attitudinal change.
The Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Tanbatta, who campaigned on support for a growing digital economy in the country, said the digital economy is based on activities that use digitized information, technologies and knowledge as key factors of production. To create innovation, create jobs and promote economic growth.
Danbatta, who said digital economy refers to any economic activity primarily implemented using digitized information or data, stressed that the drive to digitize government operations continues to increase efficiency, reduce corruption and lead to progress. Citizen engagement.
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