A Perspective on Digital Nigeria Conference 2022, by Fom Gyem
Arriving at the conference hall for Digital Nigeria 2022, I was amazed by the enthusiastic crowd and began to wonder how the event would be managed. Permit me to take you through how it went for me.
Firstly, the annual Digital Nigeria International Conference and Exhibition formerly known as eNigeria International Conference and Exhibitions, also known as Digital Nigeria, is the flagship awareness program in the Digital Economy sector.
The 2022 edition included a one-day summit on blockchain technology and startups. Discussions focused on sub-themes like Digital Transformation, Data Protection, National Security, Emerging Technologies, Digital Inclusion, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. Also, physical exhibition space was provided for ICT service providers and innovators to exhibit their products and services at the venue. About 30 exhibitors participated in the conference.
As the chief host, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) led the conference to a success resulting in increased brand awareness and relationship-building, with participants of the expo. Indeed, the minister and his team brilliantly put together a wonderful and educative conference.
My thoughts about the future of the Nigerian digital economy. If we keep going at the current pace, we would definitely capture the biggest chunk of the over $300 billion investments expected in Africa by 2025. Nigeria is on a steady rise as Africa’s number one tech investment hub and leading digital economy. The World Economic Forum also predicts that over 60 percent of global GDP will be digitized by the end of 2022 and that within the next decade, digital platforms will be used to create close to 70 percent of new value.
In his remarks, the Director General NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, said Nigeria is working on how to become a global supplier of tech talents.
“We have several initiatives to position Nigeria to become the global talent suppler. Nigeria has the capacity to fill up the global talent gap. We are exploring how to use technology to create and capture values.”
The conference provided a platform for networking opportunities, co-creation and collaboration, sharing experiences, mentorship and knowledge circulation, stimulating conversation on emerging technology, and incentives also for tech startups to better align with the core objectives of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS). It was a veritable platform for raising awareness about ICT, developing an appropriate framework, and setting goals for best practices.
I was able to understand what the digital economy means from a Nigerian point of view, as the digital economy or Internet economy has been defined in various ways by different institutions. A common denominator in all the definitions centers on the utilization of digitized information and knowledge as key inputs to the economy.
For convenience, Nigeria has defined a digital economy as any aspect of the economy that is based on or driven by digital technologies. According to a study by the European Commission, digital economies are recognized as the single most important drivers of innovation, competitiveness, and growth for any economy. Bearing in mind the importance of a digital economy, President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Nigeria Startup Act which gave the conference a big edge because the future is already here. From the impressive number of registered attendees and exhibition booths, one could see how well Nigeria has evolved in its journey to becoming a globally competitive digital economy.
The conference was filled with brilliant minds and seasoned professionals in the tech space, who enlightened the audience and participants on what they needed to know about the adoption and commercialization of emerging technologies for economic prosperity and national development.
Some of the speakers from the public sectors were Dr. Usman Gambo Abdullahi, Director, IT Infrastructure Solutions, NITDA; Dr. Amina Sambo Magaji, Director, Digital Skills and Capacity Development, NITDA and Dr. Vincent Olatunji, National Commissioner/CEO of the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB).
Notable International speakers include Ray Youssef, founder/CEO of Paxful; Bilal Al Rais, Dubai World Trade Centre; Lorien Gamaroff, CEO, Centbee; James L. Sisneros, founder/CEO, The Possibility Company and Simit Naik, Director, Commercial & Strategy, nChain.
Other professionals that spoke at the expo include Musa Ali Baba, FSDH Merchant Bank; Franklin Peters, Executive Director, Boundless Nexus Limited; Michael Simeon, CEO, Vpd. money; Dr. Yele Okeremi, Precise Financial Systems Ltd; Ayodeji Rex Abitogun, Management Edge Limited; Dr. Rislan A Kanya, DVC IT Research & Innovation, Baze University; Dr. Ibrahim Dauda, President PVG Consult and Abdulganiyu Rufai, co-founder of Telegro
Others are Faith Titus Okafor Mbah, founder/CEO, Sonergy Data Technologies; Saminu Salisu, founder/CTO, Bilic.io; Chimezie Chuta, founder, Blockchain Nigeria User Group; Jennifer Chizua, CEO Startprenuers; Dr. Salisu UBA, Founder/Managing Partner, NatQuest Limited; Nwabishop Tony Emeka, founder, Crypto Tvplus; and Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim Jega, co-founder, Domineum
Fom Gyem of Tech Digest, Wuye District Abuja