Mr Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), says smart automation will unlock opportunities for African businesses during the COVID-I9 pandemic.
Inuwa made the assertion during his online Webinar presentation on Smart Automation for West Africa, on Friday.
The presentation was entitled ”Smart Automation in Africa’’.
The webinar was hosted by Tradepass, a global agency focused on the benefits of automation for organisations across the continent.
It had over 300 participants.
It focused on the benefits of automation for organisations in West Africa which could be channelled toward growth and development.
“This era consists of the fear, hope, crisis, impact and the silver lining as well as the recovery and digital strategy.
“Smart automation expedites processes and minimises human errors. It empowers industries to innovate and grow in size exponentially,’’ Inuwa said.
According to him, smart automation of businesses will be based on the pre-COVID-19 era, the crisis associated with it and the recovery process which required digital fast strategies.
Inuwa noted that in February, available global automation statistics showed that the market size was more than 186 billion U.S. dollars.
He added that it was predicted to rise to over 214.3 billion dollars by 2021, with process automation topping the market share with 71.2 billion dollars.
“This was followed by industrial software, factory automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, 3D printing and drum step technology,” he said.
Inuwa said that Nigeria’s banking system had achieved a high rate of automation, with customers transacting businesses on their mobile devices easily.
The NITDA boss said that people should disregard the fears of losing jobs to machines after the COVID-19 era.
He said that deploying smart automation could transform economies, enhance workforce for digital growth.
“The world is now faced with health, economic crisis through COVID-19 pandemic disrupting businesses, supply chains and creating possible loss of jobs, but this has opened opportunities for digital platforms.
“There are challenges such as inadequate funding, policies and enabling environments, over reliance on foreign goods and technologies faced by African countries, but COVID-19 pandemic presents the opportunity for African countries to leverage on local content,’’ he said.
He urged African countries to come up with the right policies, provide enabling environments and adopt best practices with adequate funding to achieve optimum goals and growth during the crisis.