Thursday, November 12, 2020 / 5.30 PM /
Ayomide Oguntoye for WebTV / Header Image Credit: Twitter; @WebTVNG
Emerging technological developments have become an integral aspect of everyday business; the trend, according to Fintech analysts is indicative of the strength of digital platforms and their relevance to economic growth. This was a major takeaway from the recent Nigeria-South Africa Chamber of Commerce webinar which had as its topic "The Role of Digital Platforms in the Nigerian economy".
The keynote speaker, Mrs. Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, Country Director of Google West Africa, in her presentation noted that digital transformation is a reality and as such represents the new normal. "More than ever, it is evident that we live in a digital world and the Covid-19 Pandemic made this reality obvious," She said.
In recent years, according to Ehimuan-Chiazor, there has been an increase in the adoption of digital solutions and the consumption of content in digital space.
According to her, the Nigerian economy as it stands cannot be separated from the digital economy as the digital interface has contributed immensely to the growth of the physical economy.
The Google Country Director described the digital economy as a term that captures the impact of digital technology on the patterns of production and consumption, it includes how goods and services are marketed, traded and paid for. It is also the broad range of economic activities that use digitized information and knowledge as key factors of production.
She added "It is important to note that, the digital economy is growing faster than the real sector. Records have it that the digital economy real value-added, grew at an average annual rate of 9.9%/year from 1998 to 2017, compared to the 2.3% growth in the overall economy".
The digital specialist argued that value-creation in the digital economy has propelled companies to experience faster growth with most globally recognized companies representing digitally-enabled entities.
Speaking further on the investment rate in the economy, she noted that while most sectors experienced a decline in their investment rate in 2019 there was an increase in the digital economy. She cited the example of Paystack, a Fintech company that was recently acquired by Stripe (A Global Online Payment and Processing Firm) for $200m. Paystack got initial support from Y Combinator (The US-based Angel Investor group).
She also noted that digital platforms support the economy and have brought together vast communities of customers and partners including developers. These participants connect markets in the virtual world creating an enormous scale of efficiency. They also enable new levels of collaboration between companies and different sectors that can result in the development of entirely new products and services.
Giving further perspectives on digital trampolines she mentioned some other sectors that could benefit from digital technology inclusion such as agriculture, education, health and a few more.
Highlighting the benefits of digital platforms, she listed the following;
a. It allows for cost reduction
b. There is access to global markets
c. It allows for an increase in revenue
d. It also allows for an increase in entrepreneurship and job creation
Mr. Dolapo Adejuyigbe, Managing Partner and Co-founder of the TRACTION, in his remarks, believed that everyone in the business ecosystem has a role to play in creating digital platforms for the Nigerian economy.
"It is important that small and large businesses create a community to share common wisdom and drive innovation," he said.
The technology expert made a strong case for the government to create viable policies and regulations for the growth and development of the digital economy.