Not only are we seeing the early benefits from the Fourth Industrial Revolution in developed markets, it may provide a great impact on those living in developing countries worldwide. It was with great interest that I read Enabling a Digital Nigeria: A Position Paper of Microsoft's Vision for Digital Transformation and a Digital Economy that Works for Everyone, which presents "digital transformation as a means for social and economic development in Nigeria to enable every Nigerian citizen and business achieve more."
Through this paper, Microsoft recommends "twenty (20) policy interventions across four (4) policy areas for the Government to promote a digital Nigeria in such a way as to optimally harness the opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution. The recommendations highlight the gaps that need to be closed to ensure we can capitalize on the benefits of the digital economy. Transforming Nigeria using technologies will require developing a digital ecosystem, infrastructural enhancements in the policy and regulatory environment, education sector and national security. Finally, without deliberate efforts to improve people's national digital awareness and inclusion, both in the private and public sectors, the benefits will be limited."
Below are some of Microsoft's recommendations aimed to drive cloud adoption in the country, which would catalyze the digital transformation of public institutions:
- To sustain the traction of a cloud-first policy and other digital transformation initiatives, Government efforts to increase digital and cloud capabilities of the public service are important. The Government should amplify communications of its commitment and support of ICT policies within an enabling environment.
- Build digital and AI capacity through the creation of AI knowledge centers across the country as well as the enhancement of scientific research on AI adoption.
- Government must optimize its data ecosystem through the development of multi-domain open data repositories that will enhance citizen interaction and amplify the country’s emergency response infrastructure.
- Government should ensure technology adoption barriers like costs are fair to all socio-economic groups and offer support and provision of digital applications in sectors such as education and healthcare.
- To implement the NITDA’s e-Government Interoperability Framework across the public sector. This provides uniform standards to follow in ICT adoption that will optimize government’s role in driving sustainable development.
- Adapt the national education curriculum and delivery methods to align with 4IR and develop digital and non-digital skills such as critical thinking.
- The passage of data protection laws unique to the Nigerian context that aligns with cutting-edge technologies, is technology neutral, and balances innovation with protection.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is presenting a great opportunity for the next generation of Nigerians seeking to participate in the knowledge economy. Microsoft's recommendations provide a strong, stable path for the country's digital transformation. As the report encouragingly says: "We hope this contribution will provide a roadmap for Nigeria to achieve social and economic development goals and derive her share of the $11.5 trillion global digital economy."
Do you agree with the report's recommendations?
Aaron Rose is a board member, corporate advisor, and co-founder of great companies. He also serves as the editor of GT Perspectives, an online forum focused on turning perspective into opportunity.