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Digital infrastructure:  critical for growing Nigeria’s digital economy

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In order to harness the global digital economy estimated at $11.5 trillion (which translates to about 16 percent of the global economy), the federal government has said Nigeria’s digital economy will contribute 15% of the country‘s total gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025.

Stakeholders in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are, however, concerned over issues that may obstruct the projected growth. They pointed out that the government needs to pay attention to providing adequate ICT infrastructure, as this will reflect on the socio-economic and technological development of a digital economy.

The President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Michael Olawale-Cole at the eighth edition of Information Communication Technology and Telecommunication (ICTEL) Expo made known that the multiplier effects of an effective and efficient digital infrastructure on national development cannot be less emphasised.

The shortfall in infrastructure has created a drive for tech companies like Alerzo, Konga and Jumia to create their own infrastructure from the ground up in order to provide efficient services.

For example, Alerzo has created an end-to-end cocoon within its business-to-business e-commerce platform, where it delivers fast moving goods (FCMG) to retailers in different cities across Nigeria. Owning over 400 vehicles, goods are delivered to the retailers even in hard to reach locations, free of charge.

The creation of proprietary infrastructure by these tech firms often compliment the government’s efforts. As such, the provision of digital products such as Alerzoshop, Alerzopay, Veedez and others built partly by local talents help in promoting the growth and profitability of informal retailers and micro businesses. For example, through its Alerzopay PoS terminals, informal traders are empowered with an extra stream of income in addition to the ease and profits they get as subscribers on the e-commerce platform.

In a previous statement, group CEO of Alerzo, Adewale Opaleye said: “To provide a solution to the problem of logistics, we ended up doing something unthinkable by buying a fleet of vehicles and owning our warehouses. We own over 400 vehicles which we use in delivering fast moving goods (FCMG) to customers. We do deliveries within four hours of order because we own our entire vehicles.

“We geo mapped areas of coverage and helped develop softwares to provide banking solutions to customers. Our Veedez app, for example, was designed to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with easy-to-use bookkeeping and inventory tracking systems.”

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