Photograph — Pulse/LinkedIn

Nigeria aims to raise its GDP to 15% by 2025 through its digital economy, to accelerate economic growth and development, as stated by Clem Ikanade Agba, the country’s Minister of State Budget and National Planning. 

Nigeria’s large and fast-growing tech-savvy youth population increases the likelihood of significant GDP growth driven by the digital economy. Although ICT and telecommunications are often seen as the most promising digital economy industries to drive this projected economic growth, the opportunities for growth extend beyond these sectors. A 2022 report by Policy Circle showed that the creator economy contributes 6.1% to the global GDP, accounting for between 2% and 7% of national GDPs worldwide.

Less than a decade ago, it was unusual and deemed irresponsible for a Nigerian to introduce themselves as a YouTube creator or an influencer; these labels did not fit the traditional box of noble professions and promising careers. But the tides have changed as more Nigerian youths monetize their knowledge as digital products in ways previously considered unconventional. The creator economy has ushered in new ways of building wealth, potentially spurring economic development.

The creator economy is a fast-growing industry worth over $104 billion. Given Nigeria’s dense internet-savvy population, the country has the potential to control a substantial portion of this valuable and promising industry by leveraging its creator economy to accelerate economic growth and development. In a country where the employment rate is 33%, more people could be financially empowered and employed by monetizing their knowledge and creative skills.

At the heart of the creator economy is the creator, a diverse industry comprising filmmakers, content creators, writers, influencers, visual artists, and anyone who develops creative content. This emerging set of creatives is building a multi-million dollar industry in Nigeria’s “creator economy”. In 2021, Selar, a Nigerian content-creator-focused e-commerce platform, paid over $1 million to African creators, mostly Nigerians. Nigerian creators also earn a lot of money from YouTube and TikTok. Within the last three years, YouTube paid over $50 billion to creators on the platform.

These advancements give Nigerian youths an opportunity to become economic builders by leveraging digitalization from the comfort of their rooms. Douglas Kendyson, Founder and CEO of Selar, stated that “the beauty of this system is that someone in Nigeria can create content, put it on the internet, and it’s available to be purchased by consumers everywhere in the world. This makes it easy for anyone to be a part of the creator economy and connect to the global economy without changing their geographical location.” Platforms like Selar makes this seamless.

The growth of the creator economy in Nigeria could have a significant economic impact. When creators produce content, they often require the expertise of other professionals to ensure its success, resulting in additional job opportunities. Furthermore, since the Nigerian creator economy connects to the global creator economy, there is a need to develop structures and infrastructure specifically designed to support this unique form of cross-border trade. This also creates an opportunity for entrepreneurs to invest in and benefit from this emerging industry.

Article by David Akinfenwa

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