The Vice President, Senator Kashim Shettima on Wednesday said Nigeria will leverage its relationship with China to adopt programmes that will improve the country’s digital space, among other benefits.
Shettima has also assured member countries of the Belt and Road Initiative of Nigeria’s readiness to “collaborate with the group and other emerging markets to bring about a positive shift in the growth and development of global economies.”
The Vice President stated these in his keynote speech themed “Digital Economy As A New Source Of Growth” delivered during the High-Level Forum at the onging 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, China.
The Vice President who spoke on Nigeria’s efforts at leveraging collaborations with partners to deploy technology in addressing some of its challenges, noted that “we are keen on using the instrumentality of the existing robust Nigeria-China bilateral relations to maximally key into projects under the platform of the Digital Silk Road for the improvement of our digital space.”
“There are many institutions in Nigeria that can leverage on support in the area of digital research,” the VP added.
Highlighting the role of digital economy in accelerating global economic growth and recovery, Vice President Shettima noted that digital economy has guaranteed “the emplacement of mechanisms to ease the process of engaging in trans-border trade and e-commerce, amongst many other advantages.”
Continuing, the VP recommended that “as the world emerges from the global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is crucial need for developing economies to employ digital transformation practices in aspects of manufacturing, agriculture, retail, human capacity building as well as medical and healthcare in order to achieve any meaningful and sustainable development.”
Shettima commended China for introducing the Digital Silk Road as a vehicle for achieving international economic cooperation beyond geographical borders.
Speaking about Nigeria’s efforts in leveraging the digital space to create jobs and diversify the economy, Sen. Shettima said “Nigeria has recorded a number of achievements including a digitalized public service, developed banking and e-payment systems, electoral reforms through the introduction of the electronic registration of voters and e-transmission of votes, thus creating ripple effects of job creation and human capacity building opportunities for our teeming youth population.”
Continuing the VP said “we have recently unveiled the new strategic
blueprint, accelerating our collective prosperity through technical, as part of the Federal Government’s initiative to accelerate the diversification of the Nigerian economy by enhancing productivity in critical sectors
through technological innovation.”
He added: “Through this strategic blue print, the Federal Government aims to achieve three key objectives namely: Accelerate the growth of Nigeria as a global technical talent hub and net exporter of talent. One of the goals of this talent hub is to train three million early to mid-career technical talents throughout the next four years (2022-2027); Deepen and accelerate’its position in global research in key technology areas; and Raise the complexity and dynamics of Nigeria’s economy by significantly increasing the level of digital literacy across the country.”
The Vice President also spoke about Nigeria’s broadband penetration rate from 50 to 70 per cent by the end of 2025 and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s domestic card scheme code named “Afri Go” to rival foreign cards like Master and Visa cards, and stregthen the national payment system.
According to him, through the broadband connection, “Nigeria has unveiled Omeife Artificial Intelligence and Omeife Digital Literacy Apps, developed by UNICCON Group. Thě appš are derivatives of Omeife Africa’s first humanoid robot. The launch of these two apps is in furtherance of the Federal Government’s commitment to achieving the 95 percent digital literacy in Nigeria. Through these apps, Nigerians and the world will have easy access to education. The apps also offer translation services from English language to other targeted languages including: Pidgin English, Hausa, lgbo, Yoruba, French, Swahili and Arabic.”
“Nigeria also launched the “Agro eNaira Wallet Engagement” which would enable farmers to create eNaira wallet accounts for the programmable intervention and access to soft loans. Under this scheme, the Federal Government aims at enrolling five million farmers across the country,” the VP added.
In separate remarks at the event, leaders of Chile, Argentina, Republic of Congo, Kenya, Vietnam, Cambodia and Greece, were unanimous in their position on the role of the digital economy on global economic development and the need for strengthened cooperation and expanded coverage for digital services.
The Vice President was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar; Minister of Power, Mr Adebayo Adelabu; Minister of Transportation, Mr Saidu Alkali; Ambassador of Nigeria to China, Baba Ahmad Jidda and others.