J am delighted to be invited by the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and most importantly pleased to be amongst the participants at the 2023 NCS International Conference, themed “Communications and e-Systems for Economic Stability”, for which I am to speak on “An Analysis of Cloud Computing Towards Economic Growth”. No doubt the NCS conference has proven to be one of the best ICT forums in Africa where advocates, scholars, professionals and industry players having a common mission of championing and promoting IT development in Nigeria and Africa come together to share ideas on ways to guarantee sustainable digital economy and growth in the continent.
The choice of this year’s theme and the topic we will be discussing clearly shows the Society’s determination and drive towards promoting the adoption of cloud computing for economic stability and sustainable growth. Cloud computing refers to the delivery of computing services including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence over the Internet (the cloud) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale. The history of cloud computing has been around since the early 2000, but the concept of computing as a service has been with us since in the early 60s, when Computer bureau would allow companies to rent time on a mainframe, rather than procure one for their sort-term use. These ‘time-sharing’ services were largely overtaken by the rise of the PC, which made owning a computer much more affordable, and then in turn by the rise of corporate Data centres where organisations outsource the storage of their critical network assets, data and information. Around late 90s and early 2000s, the idea of renting access to computing power resurfaced within the application services space, utility computing and grid computing. This evolution led to the emergence of Cloud Computing, in the form of Software as a Service (SaaS), from hyperscale cloud computing providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Microsoft Azure, etc.
Economic growth is recorded when there is increase or improvement in the inflation-adjusted market value of the goods and services produced by an economy in a financial year. In the last couple of years, Nigerian ICT sector has witnessed a tremendous growth by becoming a critical driver of non-oil growth and a significant contributor to Nigeria’s GDP. As revealed by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the sector, in 2022, maintained an unprecedented contribution to the Nation’s GDP with 18.44% in Q2, 20.32% in Q3, 16.22% in Q4 whereas it contributed N3.1tr (17.47%) to the GDP in Q1 of 2023. This growth is not feasible without enabling developmental government regulations and policies such as the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS 2020 – 2030) which promotes private sector participation and investments from the industry players including the Cloud Computing Service Providers.
Cloud computing has been instrumental in driving the global and national economic growth. Its wide-ranging benefits have transformed industries, encouraged innovation, and boosted productivity. It eliminates the need for businesses to invest heavily in hardware, software, and IT infrastructure. Instead of upfront capital expenses, organisations can now leverage cloud services on a pay-per-use basis, leading to significant cost savings. The technology enables businesses to access computing resources and applications anytime, anywhere. This flexibility allows for streamlined collaboration, faster decision making, and improved operational efficiency. Cloud computing offers businesses the ability to scale their resources up or down according to their demand. This scalability allows companies to take advantage of opportunities without incurring high infrastructure costs. Most importantly, it provides a level playing field for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) by removing entry barriers related to technology infrastructure. Through it, SMEs can access the same computing power, software, and storage as is the case for larger corporations and at affordable prices. This enables SMEs to compete in the digital economy space, expand their customer base, and drive economic growth. Furthermore, businesses are able to expand their operations beyond traditional geographical boundaries owing to attendant advantages that comes with the Cloud computing. This is possible as a result of its ability to provide storage and ubiquitous access to data across multiple locations, thereby, servicing the entire global market segment. Owing to the availability of advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and big data analytics on the cloud, businesses can leverage these tools without significant investment. Generally, Cloud Computing projects a catalyst for innovation across industries. It fosters experimentation, product development, and disruptive business models, driving economic growth and creating new job opportunities.
Although precise statistical data on the contribution of cloud computing to the global and or local economy is limited, it is possible to draw insights from broader studies and reports on the impact of cloud computing in developing economies. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the global economic value of cloud computing is estimated to reach $2.3 trillion by 2024, with an annual growth rate of 15%. Businesses across the globe are realizing significant cost savings through cloud adoption. A survey by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) found that organizations can save up to 20-50% on IT infrastructure costs by migrating to the cloud. The savings could be reinvested to contribute to the overall economic growth. Additionally, a report by the International Data Corporation (IDC) reveals that the adoption of cloud computing in Nigeria has been increasing steadily. The report states that, in Nigeria alone, spending on Cloud is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 35.9% from 2019 to 2024. From the digital transformation perspectives, Cloud Computing has been enabling businesses to modernize their operations, adopt emerging technologies, and improve efficiency. The McKinsey Global Institute estimated that digital technologies, including cloud computing, could contribute from $2.7 trillion to $5.1 trillion in annual economic impact by 2025. It is of importance to note that in Nigeria, Cloud Computing provides the needed platform for startups and entrepreneurs to develop and deploy innovative solutions without significant upfront costs. With the availability of cloud services, entrepreneurs gain access to scalable computing power, storage, and advanced technologies, fostering innovation and driving economic growth. As a fundamental component of digital transformation efforts, many Nigerian businesses are adopting cloud services, they use it to modernize their operations, improve efficiency, and enhance customer experiences at a global scale. Through the digital transformation, the country enjoys increased competitiveness, attracts foreign investments, and drives economic growth. The Federal Government is enabling the digital transformation agenda through its agencies such as Galaxy Backbone Limited (GBB).
As you are aware, GBB is today the leading enabler of digital inclusion in Nigeria with a vision to extend same to the shores of Africa.
The company is well positioned to support the Government policy on enhancing broadband penetration, reducing the cost of governance through the promotion of eGovernment initiatives, uplifting the capabilities of public servants for efficiency and productivity as well as promoting collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders within the Digital Ecosystem. The establishment of state-of-the-art Data Centers (Tier 3 & Tier 4) with about 2.2PB Storage Capacity and 41TB Memory and extending the Fiber Infrastructure coverage to over 5,000km with spread to almost 30 states – 13 in the South and 17 in the North including the FCT is a way towards boosting the broadband penetration within and across the country. Through the GBB SoC, it is possible to timely monitor, block, and neutralise cyberthreats that could cause service disruptions and data loss, thereby securing our national cyberspace from infiltration, financial exposure and reputational damages, thus, guaranteeing information assurance and digital trust amongst the over 100m citizens uniquely identified by their digital IDs. GBB has been consistent in sustaining its ISO certifications, PCI DSS for Fintech and NDPR for citizens data protection as well as creating awareness on data privacy and protection as well as cybersecurity.
Additionally, GBB offers cloud services to government agencies and organizations in the form of virtual machines, storage, and networking resources leveraging highly scalable and self-service model. This enables both government and private agencies to host their applications and data in a secure and flexible cloud environment through an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model. It provides a platform for government agencies and companies to develop, deploy, and manage their applications without the need for infrastructure provisioning through the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model. This includes services such as application development frameworks, databases, and middleware. Furthermore, a range of software applications that can be accessed and used by government agencies and companies on a subscription basis including email and collaboration tools, document and content management systems, and other productivity applications are provided on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. Overall, the company provides backup and disaster recovery services to ensure the availability and protection of customer data for business continuity in case of any disruptions.
In conclusion, I wish to re-echo that embracing Cloud Computing is critical for a stable and sustained economic growth. It is therefore paramount that organisations embrace the technology and explore its endless possibilities by unlocking its potentials. It provides enormous cost-savings, productivity through increased efficiency and effectiveness, guarantee scalability, promote collaboration and facilitate market entry for SMEs, foster innovation, and enable global reach. As businesses continue to leverage cloud-based technologies, economic growth is expected to be further accelerated, creating a more connected and digitally-driven economy. Notwithstanding the numerous benefits that comes with the Cloud Computing, the need to ensure data sovereignty, data security, privacy and protection as well as guarantee digital trust within the National digital economy space cannot be overemphasised. Together, we shall shape a brighter, more connected, safe, secure, protected and economically prosperous Nigeria leveraging the Cloud Computing Technology.