Building A Digital Economy For Nigeria’s Future

In the bustling heart of Lagos, at the 2023 Businessday CEO Forum, Ralph Mupita,  the President and CEO of MTN Group, delivered a keynote address to Nigeria’s  business leaders. His focus was not on his company’s achievements, but on Nigeria  and its potential to become a significant player in the global digital economy. Other  keynote speakers at the Forum included Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, President of the  African Development Bank, and Osagie Okunbor, CEO of Shell Nigeria. 

Mupita’s presentation was a call to action, a blueprint for building a digital economy  that could propel Nigeria to become the world’s 5th largest economy. He highlighted  the vast untapped potential in the digital economy, with Nigeria’s Internet Gross  Domestic Product (iGDP) currently at 6% and expected to double by 2050 to reach  145 billion USD. He noted that Africa currently accounts for only ~1% of the global  digital economy, a stark contrast to 68% in the United States, 22% in China, and 27%  in Asia. This gap, he suggested, represents a significant opportunity for growth. 

Commending the new administration under President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who has  indicated his commitment to promote the growth of ICT and the digital economy for  the shared prosperity of all Nigerians, Mupita called on the government and business  leaders to promote policies that facilitate inclusive growth. He urged for a spectrum  roadmap that ensures sufficient resources to meet the surging demand for mobile  services. He advocated for speedy access to mid-band spectrum, crucial for the  future of low latency 5G, and access to sub-1 GHz spectrum to provide widespread  rural mobile broadband services. 

He also highlighted the digital skills gap in Nigeria and across the African continent,  especially in advanced skills such as AI & cloud computing. With an estimated 230  million “digital jobs” in Sub-Saharan Africa alone by 2030, Mupita emphasized the  need for digital skills development to advance the digital economy. 

“The potential is immense. The path is clear,” Mupita stated in concluding his  presentation. “The future of Nigeria lies in its digital economy. And with strategic  intent, collaborative effort, and a shared vision, that future is within reach.” 

“In the face of global economic shifts and technological advancements, Nigeria  stands at the precipice of a digital revolution. The country’s digital economy is poised  to drive economic growth, create jobs, and foster innovation,” he added. 

Mupita’s presentation was not just a corporate update; it was a rallying cry for Nigeria  to seize the opportunities presented by the digital age. It was a call for collaboration  between the government, the private sector, and the citizens to build a digital economy that is inclusive, sustainable, and powerful enough to propel Nigeria into  the ranks of the world’s largest economies. 

This vision for Nigeria’s digital future is not just a dream; it’s a feasible reality. With  the right policies, strategic partnerships, and a commitment to digital inclusion,  Nigeria can leverage its digital economy to drive sustainable growth and  development. This is the future that Mupita sees for Nigeria, and it’s a future that is  within our grasp. 

The role of Nigeria’s business leaders in this transformation cannot be overstated.  As key drivers of the economy, they have the power to shape the digital landscape of  Nigeria. By investing in digital infrastructure, promoting digital literacy, and fostering  a culture of innovation, they can help build a digital economy that is robust, inclusive,  and sustainable. 

In conclusion, Mupita’s presentation at the 2023 Businessday CEO forum was more  than a corporate update; it was a vision of a brighter future for Nigeria. A future  where digital technology drives economic growth, fosters innovation, and improves  the lives of all Nigerians. It’s a future that we can all look forward to. 

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