.Says China’s leads in Cyberspace, 5G, FinTech
An expert in the field of Information and Communications Technology, ICT, Prof. Justice O. Emuoyibofarhe, has stated that Nigeria has generated 17.92 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP in Q2 2021.
Emuuoyibofarhe, of Faculty of Computing and Informatics, LAUTECH, Ogbomoso, told our reporter in a chat that Africa’s cyberspace has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade, with the country’s population giving an edge to her cyberspace development on the continent, including other countries such as; South Africa, Kenya, and Egypt.
He explained that the infrastructural gaps, largely evidenced in low broadband penetration across sub-Saharan Africa, have been significantly closed by mobile connectivity.
“Nigeria’s cyberspace has emerged a key driver of the economy with ICT, which is more encompassing: contributing to 17.92 percent to the GDP in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021, representing a N2.3 trillion growth in real figures and dwarfs the oil sector which only contributed 7.42 percent to the economy in the same period.
“This is as a result of the lowering cost of smartphones and significant infrastructural investment by mobile network operators which has led to leapfrog in Africa’s cyberspace development, ” he said.
According to him, sectors such as finance, commerce, and entertainment have benefited and contributed to the growth of Africa’s cyberspace industry.
The ICT expert however noted that; areas such as education, healthcare, and security still present massive opportunities to deliver impactful solutions that cut across a larger African populace.
On evaluation of China-Africa digital cooperation and its importance, mostly on innovations like 5G network, fintech and other related technologies, Emuuoyibofarhe stressed that China is currently a global leader in information technology and maintained that despite claims that it has not demonstrated significant originality in intellectual property development, it has proven to be great at adoption, improving and making products widely available at an affordable price.
Giving more analogy of the asian giants on Africa’s Cyberspace, the prof. outlined that China’s Huawei is currently the world’s largest telecom equipment maker and one of the global leaders in 5G technology.
He also scored ZTE, another Chinese company, as a significant player despite both being negatively impacted by the US-China trade war.
“The most-widely used smartphone brands in several sub-Saharan African countries are Tecno, Infinix and iTel.
“These are made by the same Chinese company, ‘Transsion Holdings’ and the speed of adoption of 5G technology in Africa will be significantly impacted by the speed and price points at which companies such as Tencent and other Chinese manufacturers can make their devices compatible with 5G technologies.
Though, he further noted that African countries like Kenya and Nigeria have been global leaders in fintech for payment and financial inclusion, but however maintained that, “Chinese fintech companies have taken this to the next level by using fintech to democratise access to robust financial services such as business lending, savings, and investments provided by companies such as ANT Financial.
“Tencent Holdings has also evolved to become a fintech player by providing fintech products such as PalmPay which comes pre-installed with its devices, OPay, a Chinese-backed company has also emerged to become a significant player in Africa’s fintech industry.
“The entry of these companies which are backed with a war-chest of capital is shaping Africa’s financial landscape, which is a win for consumers, as they now have more access to financial services after decades of being underserved by traditional banks, ” he added.
He also informed our reporter that China’s High Commissioner to Nigeria talked about the possibility of Chinese banks setting up branches in Nigeria to assist African governments which have had access to institutional credits for infrastructural development, as well as enable access to capital for African consumers and business-owners.
The tech expert explained that it would be impossible to say what China’s expectations are or should be for future China-Africa digital cooperation, as recommendations on expectations for mutually beneficial relationships can be made.
He therefore advised that aside from trade, both parties should synergise and cross-fertilize ideas across the two regions.
“African academics and innovators are making a significant impact in research and development across western countries and China can also provide a platform for digital upskilling and research for African talents who can also provide unique perspectives in contributing to China’s growth as a digital leader.
“While approaches to digital security may differ, technologies can be shared. One of such is equipment for the development of local data centres that have a huge market opportunity in several African countries.
“With the Chinese already establishing leadership in making technologies widely accessible and more affordable, its decision to contribute to the upskilling of Africans will have long-term gains by spurring demand for its equipment within Africa and across the world.
“However, this would however require deliberate action by African leaders and policy makers in working with their Chinese counterpart to go beyond the current focus on infrastructure development to human capacity development in our cooperation with China, ” He addressed.