It is indeed a cheering news that at last, Nigeria is embracing digital economy. This followed an announcement recently by the National Information Technology Development Agency, that a National Digital Economic Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria (NDEP) had been launched; and that the launch of NDEP marked a departure from the country’s National IT Policy which ended in 2020. “You may also be aware that the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria, NDEPS, replaced the National IT Policy. Therefore, with the expiration of NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap 2017 – 2020, we have developed a new strategic roadmap in line with the NDEPS”, the agency stated.
I must be lucid on this subject. But before that, there should be greater emphasis on the role of COVID-19. In all these, though regrettable, was an eye-opener. Who could have thought that a time like this will come when a digitalized economy would be viewed as huge asset? Before now, it wasn’t so. While many did not see it coming, the COVID-19 pandemic was a game-changer. It made digital economy, or the tech-driven economy the ultimate saviour without which would have left most economies of the world in an unprecedented low. But for the flexibility it brought to the fore, where working from the home and having greater hours of economic activities, there is no gain denying the fact that NITDA’s quest to digitalise the economy was most desirous. Thanks to this realization.
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I heard that the federal government’s economic policies had been successfully retoolled to prioritize digital solutions, but one point that needed to be made is that, nations of the world are considering a fully digitalized economy with no component left out of the new craving. For us in Nigeria however, to sustain and consolidate growth, we need to ignite innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital space-of which is exactly what most of NITDA’s initiatives were tailored towards, as exemplified by the innovative ecosystem centric that is aimed at helping Nigeria to come up with ideas that will create values in digital space.
Similarly, it is laudable to learn that while Nigeria is expected to be fully digitalized by 2024, the agency has however assured that it has set the ball rolling and has put all policies and programmes in motion with a view to achieving the strategic roadmap and action plan which is anchored on seven strategic pillars. These pillars are in consonance with the current aspirations of the federal government of Nigeria’s digital economic blue prints. So, as encouraging as it were, I see a national policy anchored on the dictates of the NDEPS and to be pioneered by an ambitions NITDA who would be shouldering the facilitation of a digital transformation that the country desperately needs.
Agreed that a significant effort had been injected in the new roadmap to digitalize Nigeria’s economy, the agency is expected to maintain momentum if it must hit its 2024 target. Although, looking at the pillars on which the implementation strategies are standing on, one is left with nothing other than optimism, giving the fact that they are excellently convincing.
For instance, the key features of NITDA’s implementation strategy which are worthy to be highlighted for the benefit digital economy optimists, indicates that every strategic pillar has a defining goal to be achieved by the end of year 2024 and that a strategic pillar mapping is created for each pillar that shows the following: the goal of the pillar; the particular initiatives attached to the pillar; the objective of each of the initiatives; and the desired impact of the initiative.
Accordingly, each initiative is further broken down into activities with an implementation plan that will guide their execution. For every initiative, there is a results monitoring framework that identifies KPIs for the particular initiative and shows how progress can be monitored. It went further to ensure that the implementation of SRAP was as seamless as possible with a number of work streams introduced to take primary ownership of the implementation process and activities. This is for me a relief, having spoken the minds of many on the possibilities of that 2024 target.
Christian, a social commentator, writes from Abuja.