In spite of all the attempts by the previous and present governments, including establishing a Ministry of Communication and ‘Digital Economy’, Nigeria may not be able to achieve keying into the world and benefits of digital economy because it lacks the basic requirements for the scheme.
Central to the functioning of a digital economy anywhere in the world is a digital addressing system, without which there can be no digital commerce. But as it is today, Nigeria has no national addressing scheme. Without functional traceable addresses, there cannot be an easy and reliable digital commerce, making it impossible to favourably compete in the global digital economy.
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Aiming for digital economy without an addressing scheme is like attempting to drive a car without tyres.
All people must just have to have reliable addresses – one simply cannot google (navigate) to nowhere! People must be able to google to an address, and right now Nigeria lacks these addresses as we have not been able to create a national digital addressing scheme. It will be interesting to see what addresses most Nigerians gave in, for example, the current NIN registration scheme the communication ministry just introduced. If Nigerians could have a look at the various addresses one can bet the Kanem-Borno empire that more than 3/4 of them would be inaccurately traceable. This in itself would fundamentally compromise the objective of the scheme.
Nevertheless, countries with real digital platforms have their coded addressing systems driving their societies and digital economy. These include the zip code in the USA and post code in Europe and Asia, etc. In Nigeria, all attempts made by patriotic experts to help governments attain this all-important national addressing scheme to be able to key the country into the world digital economic system have been rebuffed by the same government that ostensibly claims working towards attaining a digital economic base. How realistically this can be achieved, Nigerians are waiting and watching.
The reality is that until we establish reliable national addressing scheme, coded and digitally traceable, we will only be talking of digital economy, expending humongous public funds for it but without ever attaining its goal and benefits.
Dr Umar Ardo sent this piece from Abuja