Chinenye Anuforo [email protected]
The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has said the country needs to harness data exploration to improve the economy, fight corruption and insecurity smartly.
In his opening address at the second Nigeria Data Summit held virtually, with the theme “Leveraging National Data for Nigeria’s Digital Economy Development”, he explained that the phrase “Data is the new oil” exposes certain similarities between data and oil.
He said that, like oil, data needs refining before its actual value can be unlocked. “Data also needs exploration and processing to extract its value or meaning significantly. However, this analogy is not always correct due to some dis-similarities between data and oil. In contrast, oil is a finite resource, and data is infinite and reusable, data also has more varieties than oil, and can easily be moved and transported from one point to the other.
“As we embarked on our journey to Digital Nigeria, we need to lay a strong foundation for its corresponding economy, the digital economy. On the one hand, the physical world, as you know it today, is driven by physical natural resources, foremost among which is oil, but on the other hand, data is the primary resource that drives the digital economy.”
He argued that developed countries are already using big-data for:
•monetary and fiscal policy formulation;
•Anti-Money Laundering (AML);
•Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT);
•crime prediction and prevention (also called Digital Policing);
•national defence/security management;
•national planning and budgeting;
•disaster prevention and management – among other uses.
The NITDA DG pointed out that to build a digital Nigeria with a strong Digital Economy, the country needs to meet two criteria.
Hear him, “Firstly, we need to understand the digital needs and peculiarities of our citizens and develop policy and strategy. Our Ministry has achieved this under the leadership of Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the HM of Communications and Digital Economy. Secondly, we need a solid strategy for the exploration and management of our vital resource that drives Digital Nation and Digital Economy, which is data.”
He said the essence of the summit was to help meet the second criteria for building a successful digital nation and its corresponding digital economy —that is, a solid strategy for data exploration and management: “Consequently, we are going to leverage the outcome of this summit and other existing national data regulations, guidelines, standards, and policies to develop a solid national data exploration and management strategy for our digital landscape. The strategy is aimed to achieve three objectives. Firstly, identify action items to transform the Nigerian big data landscape and help the government to develop the capabilities required for effective data exploration and management.