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World Bank defines digital economy for Minister, decries inadequacies

Barely one month after the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isah Pantami, convinced President Muhammadu Buhari to add control of ‘Digital Economy’ to his watch in the ministry, World Bank decries Nigeria’s inadequate digital infrastructure.

However, whereas the World Bank Group ranked Nigeria as the largest mobile market in sub-Saharan Africa, it decried clear instances of poor infrastructure and connectivity in the country’s rural areas.

In his speech at the recent launch of Nigeria digital economy diagnostic report at the e-summit hosted by the government in Abuja, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said, “Realising the full benefits of the digital economy requires Nigeria to focus on accelerating improvements in five fundamental pillars of the digital economy: digital infrastructure, platforms, financial services, entrepreneurship and skills.

“To ensure that the country is digitally enabled by 2030, investing in infrastructure to bridge the digital divide and creating an enabling regulatory environment for the digital economy to thrive is of paramount importance.’’

The report said, “Although Nigeria is the largest mobile market in sub-Saharan Africa with a strong mobile broadband infrastructure and a vibrant digital entrepreneurial ecosystem, the lack of infrastructure and connectivity in the country’s rural areas is a key challenge.”

Having listed key areas of concerns Nigerian government must face head-on, industry observers say with the clear definition of ‘Digital Economy for the current minister, all is expected from him now is nothing but working with the private sector to drive improvements across the five cardinal segments mentioned by the World Bank.

The five segments include digital infrastructure, platforms, financial services, entrepreneurship and skills.