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Assessing the E-Readiness of Nigeria for Digital Economy

Digitalization affects all spheres: economy, politics, trade, education. Technology allows you to create new ideas and increase economic development.

Digitalization affects all spheres: economy, politics, trade, education. Technology allows you to create new ideas and increase economic development. If the ICT infrastructure is available in the country, it will provide efficiency and productivity in all areas of life more quickly.

The ICT infrastructure is the force that drives the digital economy. This article will look at Nigeria’s readiness for the digital economy.

According to Statista, in 2019, 73% of private businesses surveyed in sub-Saharan Africa responded positively to the high importance of the Internet of Things to develop their future business. By comparison, only 25% of respondents recognized the importance of robotics. Moreover, 45% believed in the matter of blockchain technology.

Experts in business and economics argue that no country can have a competitive advantage in developing industry and services without using ICT in various sectors in the 21st century. Developed countries have already done this, which means that this is the path of others.


Nigeria’s current digital economy policy

African countries note that local and global competitiveness largely depends on how they use technology to transform various sectors of their economies, especially the industrial sector.

The Nigerian government is starting to notice that competition in local and global markets depends on how countries use technology to transform different sectors of their economy. We can already say that Nigeria is paying attention to integrating ICT infrastructure into its policies and programs. To this end, Nigeria’s economic policies and investments are currently focused on developing ICT capacities and infrastructure that can foster the development of the digital economy among local and international trading partners.

Today, Nigeria’s digital economy policy aims to mobilize all sectors of life to achieve economic growth and diversification. The policy aims to ensure that every Nigerian is connected to the Internet and expresses the goal of a digital Nigeria by being computer literate, owning a digital device, having access to the Internet, owning a bank account that can be accessed and managed digitally.

The government’s goal here is for most citizens to carry out their activities electronically.
It is a global trend in business transactions.

Interestingly, Nigeria’s digital economy largely depends on ICT infrastructure, development, modernization, deployment, and use. At the same time, not all country citizens are sure that the country is ready, given the requirements for ICT infrastructure for implementation.


Nigeria’s e-readiness indicators

Networked readiness
Network readiness is an essential indicator of a country’s ability to implement the digital economy and use ICTs. In the report, Network readiness index ranks Nigeria at 103rd place.

Thus, the Nigerian government needs to invest more in-network facilities, especially broadband, to connect citizens to network coverage and participate in the digital future.


Internet access

Internet access indicates the degree of accessibility of the Internet for individuals and businesses. Nigeria has a fast and comprehensive internet penetration; however, individual internet usage in Nigeria is at 28.7%. Many Nigerians’ lack of internet access and a strict mobile money regulatory model has halted Nigeria’s growth. The country’s population is among the lowest mobile money users of eight African countries surveyed in 2017.

Technological readiness
Nigeria is ranked 112 out of 137 countries in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Technology Readiness Index 2018. The broadband penetration rate in Nigeria is currently 31.5% and mostly in urban areas.

Broadband, the core technology for a flourishing digital economy, remains a challenge; according to the Minister of Communications and the Digital Economy, broadband penetration in Nigeria is less than 40%. No country can succeed or thrive in the digital economy without proper broadband penetration, so the government must implement an adequate mechanism to ensure that the proposed national broadband is available to efficient digital resources.

Electronic Services

Online services and transactions in Nigeria do not cover all the necessary services for the effective functioning of the digital economy. Most ministries lack internal networks to make information sharing and inquiries efficient, thereby reducing the ICT infrastructure at MDA to Internet connection sharing.

The digital divide in Nigeria
The digital divide is the lack of access to digital infrastructure and services between individuals, households, businesses, or geographic areas. This gap remains a problem in most African countries, including Nigeria.

The digital divide is still a significant problem in most parts of Nigeria. Therefore, while governments are focused on providing the necessary ICT infrastructure to prepare the country for the digital economy, attention needs to be paid to digital literacy, helping those who lack computer skills and the required e-literacy to acquire these skills.

Conclusion
All governments of the world’s countries are aware that digitalization plays into the hands of their economy and generally contributes to the development of society, simplifying and accelerating many processes.

At the same time, how quickly a country will introduce digitalization into all areas of its life depends on such indicators as network readiness, Internet access, technology readiness, ICT infrastructures, e-services, digital divide, and others. Even accessibility alone is not enough to fully exploit the potential of the digital economy in Nigeria. The analysis and global report indexes rank Nigeria low in terms of e-economy readiness for the digital economy. A good way out for the country would be to hire top software development companies. Specialists from such companies will train colleagues locally and help spread digitalization in the country at a more professional level.

The government’s current drive to diversify the economy with the digital economy will eventually create a new line of investment opportunities in Nigeria and pave the way for incremental progress in the country’s technological readiness and development.

Author’s bio: Anastasiia Lastovetska is a technology writer at MLSDev, a software development company that builds web & mobile app solutions from scratch. She researches the area of technology to create great content about app development, UX/UI design, tech & business consulting.