Tech Trends That Will Shape 2023
By Juliet Umeh
Nigeria’s information and communication technology, ICT sector has witnessed significant growth and development in recent years.
The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS said the sector had contributed 18.44 percent to the ‘Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product Report’ for Q2 2022.
This was despite some challenges faced by the sector like lack of reliable and affordable electricity, multiple taxations, regulatory bottlenecks, limited access to ICT infrastructure in rural areas among others, the ICT will remain a significant proportion of the economy in the foreseeable future.
However, the government is also making efforts to improve the development of the sector with initiatives such as the National Broadband Plan, which aims to increase broadband penetration in the country, and the National eGovernment Master Plan, which aims to increase the use of ICT in government operations and services.
Meanwhile 2023 is here, experts have projected technology trends that may further shape the development of Nigeria’s economy.
Partner and head of technology and innovation at Information and Technology Company, AELEX, Mr. Davidson Oturu, among other ICT experts said big data analytics will impact heavily on financial technology.
According to him, “It will allow companies to take a personalized approach when handling individual customer cases. Specifically, banking apps rely on big data to collect information about customers and deliver highly customized notifications.
“Typically, financial companies gather information from multiple channels, including mobile apps, social media, wearables, and smart devices.
“For instance, big data can provide specific information based on purchase and browsing history, thereby enabling companies to create highly personalized offers to existing customers. These offers can be presented via email, company websites, streaming services and online advertising. Big data analytics can also be used to analyze text, videos, images and audio data on review sites, social media and other websites to determine customer attitudes, spot patterns and deliver appropriate content. Customized services can then be delivered to the customers and increase revenue.
Other trends according to experts include:
*Growth of the e-commerce industry: Nigeria’s large and rapidly growing population and the adoption of mobile devices and internet access has made e-commerce more accessible. With improvements in electronic payment and logistics sectors, the growth trend is likely to continue into the coming years. Konga, Jumia and Jiji continue to show what is possible in this space.
*Increased adoption of cloud computing: As businesses in Nigeria look to reduce costs and improve efficiency, many will turn to cloud computing solutions to store and process data. There are a growing number of important players in this space including Rack Centre, Cloudflex Computing Services Limited, and Layer3Cloud among others.
*Expansion of mobile broadband: The proliferation of mobile broadband is expected to continue in Nigeria, driven by the increasing demand for data services and the roll-out of 4G and 5G networks. The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) in 2021 granted 5G licenses to MTN Nigeria and Mafab Communications with Airtel joining the party this December. MTN is known to have rolled out services in certain cities. 2023 holds promises of more roll-outs and improved access to 5G services in general.
*Rise of fintech: The fintech industry in Nigeria has seen significant growth in recent years, and this trend is likely to continue as more people turn to digital financial services. Reports suggest that there are over 200 Fintech firms in Nigeria rapidly helping to bridge the financial inclusion gap. The fintech ecosystem covers businesses focused on mobile payments, digital banking, merchant solutions and personal finance among others. Interswitch, Flutterwave, Paystack, PiggyVest, Paga, and E-tranzact are some of the biggest players in this space.
*Increasing use of artificial intelligence, AI: The use of AI in various sectors, including healthcare, education, and agriculture, is expected to increase in Nigeria as the country looks to leverage technology to solve problems and improve services. The early players here include Lare Ayoola’s IoT Africa Networks Limited, Kobo360 and Data Scientists Network.
*Growth of the outsourcing industry: Nigeria’s highly educated workforce and lower labour costs make it an attractive destination for outsourcing. This trend is likely to continue as companies look to outsource certain business functions to save costs, improve productivity and boost profitability. Renda, Philip Outsourcing, and Workforce Group are leading players in this space.
*Increased adoption of digital skills: As the ICT sector continues to grow; there will be greater demand for individuals with digital skills. This trend is likely to drive the development of training programs and initiatives to help people acquire the necessary skills. Governments at different levels are making tremendous efforts in this space. The National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, through its subsidiary, the National Center for Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, NCAIR is training one million developers with a focus on Python for Machine Learning and Data Science. The Lagos State Government has also commenced the Second Phase of the Eko Digital programme which aims to empower one million youths in the State with cyber security skills. Numerous other initiatives are ongoing in the private sector space.
In his contribution, Business Development Officer at an Information and Technology firm, ITEX Integrated Service, Mr Wonder Akpeki said: “ICT and digital economy have contributed 18.44 per cent in 2022 to the gross domestic product, GDP, making it the fastest revenue generator in the Nigerian economy.
“The oil sector, which used to dominate the country’s GDP bottom line, fell to 6.33 percent in Q2 2022, a position lower than its 7.42 percent in Q2 2021 and 6.63 percent in Q1 2022
“From these few available facts, the ICT sectors will certainly rise in Fintech, e-commerce and the current trend in AI. That’s where the world is heading to and Nigeria being a dominant player in the West Africa sub-region, we won’t be left behind,” Akpeki said.
However, Executive Director of a social enterprise that builds an ICT-enabled support system, Paradigm Initiative, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, “I strongly feel that the contribution of tech to Nigeria’s economy will increase in 2023, and as more citizens come to terms with the reliability of digital goods and services.
“But I think a root problem with the economy can be summed up in one word, government. Apart from recursive government policies that threaten the tech economy that has been thriving in spite of (not because of) government, there is also the danger of a Minister who is bent on crippling gains by introducing redundant policies and reversing the independence of institutions.”