Nigeria calls for Single African Digital Market
Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja.
The Nigerian government is seeking the support of the international community for a single African digital market.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, made the appeal at the privacy week organized by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Abuja to mark World Privacy Day with the theme: “Harnessing Data as Critical Infrastructure for the Digital Economy”. He said this would aid African economies and enable data sovereignty for Africa.
The Minister emphasized that a single digital market for Africa will enable African countries gain advantage of the economies of 1.3 billion people:
“I implore the African Union Commission and our international partners to support Nigeria’s call for creating an African Single Digital Market (ASDM).
“This would enable the continent gain the advantage of economies of 1.3 billion people. The ASDM would also help us have data sovereignty in such a way as to protect data, while also protecting the multinational technology investors.
“Before I round off, permit me to say I am most delighted with our young, secondary school students. The report of your Virtual class yesterday gave me deep pleasure. I want to encourage you to keep on studying and staying safe online. You are the digital natives and we are doing all we can to empower you to become what you aspire to be,” Dr. Pantami reiterated.
According to him the country embarked on the linkage of citizens’ phone lines with their National Identification Number (NIN) because the digital market uses data.
“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.
“The value of this would become appreciated with the ease at which e-government services would be delivered, the reduction in crime, and general efficiency guaranteed by the database.
“Identifying every Nigerian is a soft infrastructure needed to achieve our digital economy objective. Indeed, the needed pieces for the digital economy is falling in place and we are committed to laying a solid and lasting foundation for a digital Nigeria.
“The currency of the digital economy is personal data. Digital platforms require information such as names, emails, phone numbers, geo-data, among other personally identifiable information to be able to fulfill their service promise and to do effective marketing. Data must, therefore, be harnessed and properly regulated in order to achieve an orderly use of such valuable asset.
“When I signed the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation two years ago, I knew it was a fundamental instrument needed to digitally transform Nigeria,” the Minister said.
He assured the international community and stakeholders of the seamless implementation of the Data Protection Bill when passed into law:
“We also assure our stakeholders and the international community that we are putting in place requisite mechanisms for the institutional framework to implementation to ensure successful implementation of the Bill as soon as it is passed into law.
“The lessons from the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation would form the foundation for the Act and we hope to continue playing a leading role in deepening data protection and digital economy in Africa.”
The Director-General, NITDA, Mr. Kashifu Inuwa, in his remarks enumerated some of the steps taken by the Agency to ensure and guarantee citizens’ data privacy, create jobs and a market of over two billion Naira as follows: “Issuance of the NDPR Implementation Framework 2020
“As part of strengthening institutional capacity to implement digital laws and policies, we constituted the Digital Transformation Technical Working Groups (DTTWG) in each Ministry, Department and Agency; and the organization designated one of the DTTWG members as its Data Protection Officer. We trained these officials for one month in different batches. Their training was invaluable as it has prepared the public sector to now understand compliance with the NDPR.
“It has also brought about the creation of over 2,686 new jobs and the creation of data protection sector, which is valued at N2,295,240,000.
“…Nigeria is a global player when it comes to technology of privacy as the country is ahead of all other African countries.
“Nigeria is leading the continent and competing favourably with the world in the area of Privacy Technologies. Our expo on Tuesday showcased novel products that left our audience well-pleased. Our innovators presented solutions on how to ease compliance filing process, visitor management, blockchain and cryptography among other beautiful ideas.” the NITDA Boss added.