Hon. Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim delivering the Convocation Lecture

The Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, has asserted that the academia has a key role to play in the development of Nigerian digital economy. Dr. Ibrahim made the assertion on Friday, January 31, 2020 when he presented the 29th Convocation Lecture of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, at the Caverton Lecture Theatre, Main Campus, titled: Datafication of Society: Economic and Security Issues in producing and Using Public and Private Data in Nigeria”.

The Minister described a digital economy as one that utilizes digitized information and knowledge as key inputs to the economy adding that most nations are prioritizing development of digital economies because they have realized the multiplier effects it has on all other sectors of the economy.
He said the thrust of the lecture was to draw attention to the irrefutable fact that a digital economy is the single most important driver of innovation, competitiveness and growth for any economy. The convocation lecturer noted that Nigeria depended on oil for decades but as we move into an era where wealth is being measured by digital resources, we must diversify and move to a knowledge based economy by the use of ICT to be able to take care of our Technological challenges adding that the key ingredient for powering a digital economy is data which drives the growth of the traditional economy.

Dr. Ibrahim disclosed that Nigeria, is developing and implementing policies, standards, guidelines and frameworks that will enable citizens enjoy the prospects of datafication. According to him, Nigeria has keyed into the digital economy with the launch of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on November28, 2019. The Minister who highlighted the differences between public and private data, economic and security issues in producing and using public and private data in Nigeria noted that there are laws and policies in Nigeria that are supporting the protection of our personal data like the Nigerian Data Protection Regulation (NDPR) and sections 37 of the Nigerian constitution.
He used the occasion to call on the academia not to be more inclined to theory but focus on skills and establish ICT hubs to discover young talents who will solve the varying challenges of Nigeria. He urged the academia to bridge the gap between it and a digital economy industry in order to develop.

In his remark, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of the University, Prof. ‘Femi Odenkunle appreciated the Minister for accepting to deliver the lecture adding that FUT, Minna being the leading specialized university in Nigeria, the lecture was very relevant to the audience.
Speaking earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdullahi Bala, FSSSN, thanked the Minister for honouring the invitation as the guest lecturer in spite of his busy schedule and said his presence was an honour that has added glamour to the occasion.