Barrister Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications, has said that over $60 billion US dollars have been invested in the ICT sector since the year 2001 when digital mobile services were launched because the global attention returned to Nigeria as the country with the highest potential for investment.
According to the minister, the government of Nigeria has been conscious of the role ICT can play in national development and has therefore been committed over the last 15 years to ensuring that ICT facilities and services are expanded rapidly.
Shittu who made the disclosure in a keynote address he delivered at the 6th European Union-Nigeria Business Forum 2017 held in Lagos said that the Nigerian ICT sector today is one of the fastest growing despite the economic recession and contributed 9.8% in GDP in 2014 alone.
“Globally ICT has become a veritable tool for advancing growth and economic diversification in countries, even those that are not endowed with natural resources. ICT has changed the way people communicate, learn, and conduct businesses. A World Bank econometric study carried out in 2009 showed that every 10% increase in ICT investments generates a 1.38% increase in GDP”.
Speaking further on the significance of ICT, the minister “In order for the ICT sector to supplement or replace the oil and gas sector, we have put in place strong policy frameworks which favour the sector. We want the ICT sector to be the cash cow for our nation. The success of Local Content drive in the telecom and ICT in Nigeria would accelerate the progress of the sector.
“Nigeria is also using ICTs to build a more inclusive society. Our broadband initiatives, which are being implemented across technologies and at various level of governance, are in line with union’s priority of bridging digital bridge and providing broadband for all. Nigeria is committed to a sustainable ICT environment at a global level, as well as within its national boundaries”.
He said the Nigerian government is addressing the issues of investment in ICT infrastructure, and ICT education and regulation in order to build on the successes of this digital revolution.
Barr. Shittu commended the EU-Nigeria Business Forum, organizers of the Forum for its unflinching commitment towards transforming economies of developing and emerging to Digital Economy, stressing that the theme of the conference ‘Youth as an Engine of Broad-based Economic Transformation’ is apt and timely, because it brings attention to a segment of the Nigerian population that should have been increasingly contributing to the economy of the country.
The minister added that the theme aligns with the Ministry’s mandate and forthcoming Africa Union and EU summit later this year.
“Your Excellency, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the theme for this forum couldn’t have been more opportune than now when the nation is striving to digitize the economy by defining the role of youth in economic transformation by leveraging ICTs. Riding on ICT has become expedient as traditional approaches are failing to reverse the unemployment trend. The present Administration has acknowledged ICT as being integral to growth and sustainable development. ICTs are reshaping the world”, he said.