Nigeria’s communications minister Adebayo Shittu, has called for partnerships that would ensure the success of the Nigerian government’s smart cities initiative. He said this in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja at a two-day Smart Cities multi-stakeholders international summit sponsored by Huawei.
Other partners for the summit included Smart Cities Nigeria, Ministry of Communications, Ministry of Works, Housing and Power, Federal Capital Territory Administration and Ministry of Environment.
Shittu said, “More people now have access to smart phones. Experts said that smart phones users in Africa will increase from 75 million in the first quarter of 2016 to 512 million 2018. Smart Cities would promote open data is one of the advantages of smart city. Smart City helps to manage government resources. It also helps to get more revenue for the government.”
Shittu announced that to encourage competition among states and local governments, Nigeria’s communications ministry would launch the Smart City competition to encourage them to take bolder steps towards digital technology.
“I urge stakeholders to partner with the ministry to create smart cities in Nigeria,” he added.
In his remarks, Tank Li, managing director, Huawei Technologies Nigeria Limited, said the development and widespread application of digital technologies had transformed lives in a profound way.
“Data flow and economic development have become the big trends of our time; digital economy is a new form of economy in which everyone can share. Digital economy refers to an economic system in which digital technologies are widely applied, revolutionizing the whole economic environment and activities. Digital economy is also a brand new socio-political and economic system in which all information and commercial activities are digitised,” Li said.
He added, “Businesses, consumers and governments do business via the Internet, allowing for rapid business growth. Digital economy focuses on commodities and services whose production, distribution, and sales all rely on digital technologies.
“We project in the near future a digital economy that will bring about enormous changes in society. We simply have no way of knowing how deep and far-reaching these changes will be. However, we can be sure of one thing, that ICT will be the cornerstone of this digital economy.
“In our philosophy, the digital economy has three defining characteristics: All things will have the ability to sense, all things will be connected, and all things will be intelligent.
“The existence of these three defining characteristics depends entirely on advanced ICT. In an intelligent world, devices will play the role of the “feelers” in an all-sensing environment. Networks will connect everything, and the cloud will be the source of intelligence behind all things. These three elements form a synergetic architecture of devices, information pipes, and the cloud.”
“This fourth industrial revolution is going to impact people’s lives in unimaginable ways and this will happen through the convergence of the cyber and physical worlds. The Internet of Things is automatic ‘smart’ communication between objects, through the internet.
“McKinsey Global Institute says in a report last year that IoT could have a total economic impact of $4 trillion to $11 trillion a year by 2025. IoT pervades many areas of life.
According to him, the Nigerian government has realized the potential of its digital economy. Unlocking the dividends of digital economy becomes imperative in the face of dwindling oil revenue with increasingly pressure on the economy evident in budgets deficit, infrastructural deficit, high unemployment rate, harsh business environment and corruption amongst others.
He said: “Federal government is about to launch the “Smart Nigeria Digital Economy Project” that aims to solve efficiency problems and create leapfrog opportunities in the economy for the next 10 years.
“Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Okechukwu Enelamah said the financial services within the country’s digital economy would add $88 billion to the gross domestic product (GDP) and create more than 3 million jobs within 10 years. The potential gains of the digital economy will manifest in digital accounts, payments, mobile money, health and educational services along with other sectors of the economy.
‘I fully agree with the fact that, ICT-enabled technologies and solutions has the huge potential to serve as a major accelerator of the vision of Smart Nigeria Digital Economy and its sustainable development goal.
“As a global leading ICT solution provider, Huawei’s products and solutions have been deployed in over 170 countries and regions, serving more than one third of the world’s population.”