-by Barnabas Esiet.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, says investment in digital infrastructure will enhance Nigeria’s economic potential.
The Apex bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who was speaking at the 30th edition of the Seminar for Finance Correspondents and Business Editors in Abuja and Lagos, underscored the need to build a solid digital economy, with emphasis on developing; digital infrastructure (internet connectivity), digital literacy and skills, digital financial services, digital platforms and digital entrepreneurship and innovation.
Emefiele said Nigeria, being the biggest economy in Africa with one of the largest youth populations in the world, is well-positioned to develop a strong digital economy even more so in an era of unprecedented changes, posed by the volatile effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on every sector of life and business globally.
CBN governor, Goodwin Emefiele
“Households and businesses have since adapted to the changes by leveraging digital channels to conduct business activities and personal transactions. This has led to a surge in demand for digital platforms that promote remote work such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams; along with e-commerce applications that enable digital payments for the purchase of goods and services online.” He noted.
The CBN governor said the presence of these digital channels along with various mobile and web-based channels has helped to support households and business continuity in the country, adding that Nigerians were able to benefit from some of the measures put in place by the Apex Bank in developing a robust payment system which help in mitigating the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on GDP growth in 2020.
“The ICT sector grew by 14.7 per cent in 2020 relative to growth of 10.16 percent in 2019, as the pace of technological adoption increases, we must find ways to leverage digital channels in improving access to credit for all Nigerians as this is key towards the country’s efforts at driving growth over the next few years.”
“As we are all aware, the digital economy is made up of various components, including data analytics, robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, e-commerce, e- business, e- infrastructure. One of the strongest advantages of technology is that it shrinks time and space and reduces the world as a global village, thereby providing connectivity at the click of a button to anyone anywhere in the world,” he said.