Nigeria: Tasks for Digital Economy Minister

There are high expectations for Nigeria’s new Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, as the country seeks to create one million jobs in the sector within 24 months.

Development Diaries reports that President Bola Tinubu, in his campaign manifesto, promised to create one million jobs in the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.

President Tinubu also promised that his administration would ensure infrastructure-led support of Nigeria’s e-commerce industry and tech manufacturing.

The Nigerian leader, a presidential candidate at the time, also promised to deliver broadband services to 90 percent of the country’s population by 2025, and review government’s position on blockchain technology and crypto.

‘Our plan includes interventions in the ICT Industry and other critical sectors of the Nigerian economy where the deployment of new technologies can fast-track business growth and diversification’, the manifesto of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) read.

But there are critical issues, including data literacy and protection, that the minister, Tijani, must address as he spearheads efforts to achieve the aforementioned ambitious but achievable goals.

‘I look forward to working with all stakeholders to raise the level of productivity across our economy through the smart application of technology. It is an exciting time to build a bigger and better future for all Nigerians’, Tijani said after his inauguration as minister.

A 2021 World Bank report revealed that more than 50 percent of Nigeria’s 200 million population did not have digital skills, thereby struggling to use data services.

Another challenge is poor data protection. The need for data protection has become important as the world is gradually turning into a global village, and this, in turn, has led to a rise in the spread of misinformation and data across the internet.

Although the country now has a data protection law, poor data protection remains a concern.

Also, inadequate infrastructure, particularly in the areas of energy and internet connectivity, is a significant problem for Nigeria’s technology companies.

Operating and growing businesses is challenging for internet entrepreneurs in Nigeria due to the country’s weak infrastructure. This, the minister, has to address.

Development Diaries calls on the minister to ensure proper enforcement of the 2023 Data Protection Act, especially as it concerns government agencies, as they are some of the biggest violators.

We also call on the minister to work closely with tech-focused nonprofits and other critical stakeholders to support initiatives that aim to boost inclusive ICT literacy and economic opportunities for all Nigerians.

Photo source: Bosun Tijani

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