A A report by Oxford Economics in 2016 indicates that the global digital economy is valued at $11.5 trillion, or around 16% of the global economy, which is expected to represent a quarter of the global economy over the next 10 years.
Similarly, the World Economic Forum predicts that more than 60% of global GDP will be digitized by 2022 and that over the next decade digital platforms will be used to create almost 70% of new value.
Digital literacy is a combined ability to find, use, evaluate, share and create content using information technology (IT) and the Internet and the United Nations Educational, Scientific Organization and culture (UNESCO) has defined it as the ability to access, use and disseminate information in the digital age.
Thus, digital literacy is about understanding information when it is presented in different formats and determining how to use it safely and productively. Adoption of the digital space is increasingly perforated as it is used to fill out application forms, shop online for groceries and everyday clothes, among others.
In developed countries, research has shown that companies large and small have successfully adopted digital culture or skills to gain competitive advantage, transform business models, and improve relationships with customers and suppliers. These skills are a critical success factor for many successful small business owners.
It has clearly become fundamental for the Nigerian government to explore options to bring more small business owners into the digital space to help their businesses thrive.
However, the Institute for Information Technologies in Education of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO IITE) has stated that digital literacy has beneficial effects on skills. and learning skills because it broadens the scope of potential knowledge.
Nigeria currently does not have a large share of the global digital economy, but an effort is being made to position the country to play a leading role in contributing to its economy. This is why, during a one-day virtual workshop earlier this year, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mallam Isa Pantami, noted that for Nigeria to achieve its ambitious target of 95% level of digital literacy by 2030, “we will have to build the literacy of citizens, so that they understand and consume digital services.
Awareness of what digital literacy is and the reality of its influence on our daily lives will greatly enhance its promotion in Nigeria. We can dominate our environment in many ways through digital literacy. We can become creators of ideas that can spark desires, lead to the creation of tools that can reduce stress, and effect a transition from consumers to producers.
It is pertinent to state that a business owner in Nigeria should at least have basic knowledge on how to navigate the internet for seamless business transactions. This can be for communication purposes between a business owner and customers, it can be for payment purposes through banking apps, USSD codes or point of sale.
Despite government efforts to establish small business development agencies in Nigeria, small businesses continue to face challenges that threaten their survival. But several interventions have been launched in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, to help entrepreneurs develop sustainable businesses and become more digitally literate.
Yet small businesses continue to face problems such as lack of funds, weak entrepreneurial and managerial capacities, poor and unreliable infrastructure, difficult business environment, poor service delivery and lack of access to modern technology.
How can they achieve this?
The federal government should reinvent the future of small business owners by giving them access to more funds and by expanding its current education reforms to make it more functional and needs-based with an emphasis on social networks such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, among others, and how they can contribute to the entrepreneurial performance of small business owners.
There should be a reliable structure and a flexible business environment for business owners and better access to technological knowledge.
Small business owners can also take personal beginner courses to expand their knowledge of the digital space and how they can apply the knowledge gained to generate more profit for their businesses.