The Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami has implored the African Union Commission and its international partners to support Nigeria’s call for creating an African Single Digital Market (ASDM). He said it would enable the continent gain the advantage of economies of 1.3 billion people. The Minister said the African Single Digital Market would enable the country to have data sovereignty, in such a way as to protect data, while also protecting the multinational technology investors.The Minister made the disclosure at the Global Privacy Day Celebration week in Abuja.Pantami added that the Digital Economy is developing at a remarkable rate, and it has been widely accepted as the single most important driver of Innovation, Competitiveness and Growth. “The digital economy is fundamentally transforming the way societies, businesses including the business of governance operates and deliver services.The 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.”According to the Minister, the Oxford Economics values the global digital market at $11.5 trillion dollars or approximately 16% of the Global Economy. “The 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.”He 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.Speaking at the event, the Director General of NITDA, Dr Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, said there is urgent need for the country to put in place necessary mechanism in getting things right.He said the theme for the 2021 Privacy Week in celebration in Nigeria “Harnessing Data as Critical Infrastructure for the Digital Economy” is very crucial at this period that we are on a journey to a national Digital Economy for Nigeria. “With the giant strides we have achieved in our digital economy effort, you will all agree with me that the issue of identity, data collection and management are imperative, and we must put in place the necessary mechanisms to get things right.”
“Since the issuance of the NDPR in January 2019, NITDA has made some remarkable strides, which includes opening the door for our private sector players to venture to other countries to replicate the moderate success we have achieved thus far”.Other strides include, full membership of the Common Thread Network. “CTN is a network of Commonwealth nations’ data protection authorities. The CTN is hosted by the UK Information Commissioner’s Office. This strategic alliance would provide needed help in capacity development, mentoring, and cross border enforcement”.