By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Federal government says it is committed to enabling the use of big data sources and other emerging technologies to improve public administration and service delivery as well as create new job and business opportunities for our youth.
It said that the rapid evolution of data both as a critical raw material or infrastructure for Nigeria’s digital economy and a tool for accelerating multi-sector development caught the early attention of the administration, hence the renewed commitment to leverage the potentials of big data through policy instruments.
A digital economy generally refers to an economy that utilises digitised information and knowledge as key inputs to the economy.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali (Pantami) made this known in his remarks at the Virtual Stakeholders’ Engagement on the Draft Nigeria Mobile Big Data Policy hosted in Abuja.
He said big data is crucial because it plays a critical role in the digital economy and has been described as the currency, lifeblood and new oil of the digital economy.
According to him, mobile big data analytics of anonymized data has the potential to support our nation as we develop our digital economy.
The term digitised information is synonymous with data and these further shows how important data is to the digital economy. It has been widely accepted that a digital economy is the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness and growth for any economy.
‘‘A focus on growing the National Digital Economy will also improve our traditional economy and will enable us get a slice of the Global Digital Economy, which Oxford Economics values at $11.5 trillion dollars or approximately 16% of the Global Economy.
‘‘This value is expected to grow significantly over the coming years. The World Economic Forum also 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,’’ he said.
Pantami said the Ministry is developing policy and regulatory instruments that will support the use of data in developing our digital economy and listed the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) and the National Policy on Virtual Engagements in Federal Public Institutions as some examples.
He noted that the Soft Infrastructure Pillar seeks to secure Nigerians, and their data, online. The Digital Services Development and Promotion Pillar and the Digital Society and Emerging Technologies Pillar use data to deliver value. They encourage our digital entrepreneurs to come up with innovative ideas for using digital resources to create sustainable value for their customers.
The service infrastructure pillar addresses the provision of robust digital platforms to drive the digital economy. One of the objectives of this pillar is the “Use of digital platforms for the extraction and warehousing of anonymized big data for public good.
‘‘There are many sources of big data and anonymized mobile phone data is one of such sources. Today, we are demonstrating our commitment to enabling the use of big data sources and indeed, other emerging technologies, to improve public administration and service delivery as well as create new job and business opportunities for our youth.’’
‘‘Nigeria is not alone in identifying new opportunities from data. The United Nations is one of the global institutions that is exploring the use of mobile big data. The UN also recognized the availability of new data accumulated over the course of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.
‘‘We recognize that data can be leveraged upon to support the development of government digital services platforms, as well as create new and valuable services across several sub-sectors including FinTech, EdTech and Smart Agriculture, amongst others. The potential is enormous and we invite you all to support us in making this potential translate into real value,’’ said the Minister.
The UN Big Data Global Working Group was set up in collaboration with key institutions like the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), GSM Association (GSMA) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OEDC).
The focus of the Group is to establish protocols for the use of big data to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, among others.