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FG seeks support of AU, others to create African Single Digital Market 

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
03 February 2021   |   4:10 am
The Federal Government has urged the African Union Commission and all its international partners to support Nigeria’s call for creating an African Single Digital Market (ASDM).

Isa Ali Pantami

The Federal Government has urged the African Union Commission and all its international partners to support Nigeria’s call for creating an African Single Digital Market (ASDM).

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, made the call during the 2021 Global Privacy Day, observing that the creation of the Digital Market would enable the continent to gain the advantage of economies of its 1.3 billion people.

He said: “The digital economy is fundamentally transforming the way societies; businesses including the business of governance operate and deliver services. One irony of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has actually mainstreamed the digital economy. Rather than travelling by air, sea and land to host an event like this, we have impacted more people from around the world without gathering together physically.

“The Oxford Economics values the global digital market at $11.5 trillion dollars or approximately 16% of the Global Economy. This value is expected to grow significantly over the coming years. McKinsey and Company has predicted that the Digital Economy in Africa is expected to grow to over $300 billion by 2025.

“The World Economic Forum predicts that over 60% of global GDP will be digitized by 2022 and that over the next decade, digital platforms will be used to create close to 70% of new value and jobs. Most nations are prioritizing the need to develop their digital economies because they realize the multiplier effects that this can have on all other sectors of the economy.”

Pantami said the current efforts of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy in encouraging Nigerians to register for the National Identity Number (NIN), is a strategic and critical national effort to ensure Nigerians have a credible, converged and consistent database for identity purposes.

On the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), the Minister said the Ministry is also working with relevant organs of government to ensure Nigeria passes a well-thought out, digital-economy propelling, Data Protection Act.

In his goodwill message, the representative of the European Union Commission, Mattia Pentimi, called on Nigeria to build a Digital Market that would connect the country to the EU and the rest of the world.

He said the EU Commission has an ambitious agenda to offer technical assistance to Nigeria, as a very important partner, and also willing to engage her on world best practices and dialogue on issues of data protection and digital marketing.

‘‘Since Nigeria is a very important partner to the EU, we will be engaging her in terms of offering technical assistance, sharing best practices and dialoguing on data protection so that the cooperation can take off. We hope to see a new law in place by this time next year, which will mark a new era for Nigeria.’’

Earlier in his address, the Director-General of NITDA, Abdullahi Kashifu Inuwa, said the selection of the theme for the 2021 Privacy Week Celebration in Nigeria, “Harnessing Data as Critical Infrastructure for the Digital Economy,” was due to the importance NITDA attached to the celebration and various sessions in the week.

He said the giant strides so far made by the Agency in its digital economy effort justifies the importance of identity, data collection and management, which is very crucial at this period toward the journey to a digital nation.