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Why COVID-19 is Compeller of Digital Technology Adaptation – NITDA

BY FARUK MUSTAPHA UMAR

Technophiles and tech savvy experts have said that the outbreak of COVID-19 in December 2019 has compelled countries across the world to adopt digital technologies as a way of life.

The virus has devastated and altered medical and scientific thoughts has been described as one pandemic that has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies in all sphere of life. The Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has said.  

The DG who was represented by the Acting Director, Digital Economy Department, Engr. Salisu Kaka, made this remarks in a lecture titled; “Implementing The National Digital Policy Economy for Digital Nigeria: Issues and Prospects”,  for participants of Senior Executive Course 43 at the National Institute for Policy and Strategies, Kuru, Jos, Plateau State.    

Abdullahi noted that; “the disruption to our daily lives, orchestrated by the pandemic, is repositioning the digital economy and giving it an edge over traditional economies.

He added that despite the economic downturn, occasioned by the pandemic, most countries with viable digital economies witnessed growth.

The DG maintained that, for Nigeria to accelerate growth and modernize the economy there is a need to develop a strategy for digitally inclined growth for the nation’s economy.

He observed that digital technology based companies, such as; Google, Amazon, Zoom and others, recorded growth during the lockdown. “In Nigeria too, digital technology companies like; Flutterwave, Jumia, Buypower, etc., are all attestation to the potential growth of digital economy.       

The DG, while describing digital economy as an engine for growth, said Nigeria can harness it as a driver for growth and innovation. According to Mallam Abdullahi, African Union has launched Digital Economy for Africa (DE4A) initiative which aimed at accelerating the economic growth of the continent. He said, “The DE4A initiative recognizes that the digital economy can help to accelerate the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the World Bank Group’s twin goals.” (Group, 2021)

“For Nigeria, a country in dire need to diversify its economy, digital economy activities is key for diversification because they transcend all aspect of human endeavour.” While citing an example, the DG noted that designing indigenous software to solve local economic problems with local content will expand knowledge and education, create jobs in the process, and deepen integration with the global economy,” he added.

According to him, many scholars have tried to come up with some guiding definitions on digital technology, and by extension digital economy, saying in this regards, that digital technologies are changing the world at a faster pace than previously experienced. Waves of technological innovation are re-shaping the world and introducing new business models to all sectors, among which is a rapid transformation that leads to the emergence of the digital economy.

He said, “Though there is no specific definition of digital economy, but the term was first coined in 1995 by Tapscott, saying digital economy is a kind of economy that focuses on digital technologies.

According to him, it essentially covers all business, economic, socio-cultural activities that are supported by the web and other digital communication technologies. Digital economy is also referred to as Internet Economy, Web or New Economy.”

He further stated that digital economy is the economic activity that results from billions of everyday online connections among people, businesses, devices, data, and processes, adding that, the backbone of the digital economy is hyper-connectivity, which means the growing interconnectedness of people, organizations, and machines which is promoted by internet mobile technology, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

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