Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has applauded consistent growth in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) contributions to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which hit 17.92 per cent in the last quarter of 2020, and in the first quarter of 2021, and continued on an impressive trajectory.
The Minister, who gave the figures at the opening of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU’s) – (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) FCDO Roundtable, and Technical Workshop on Building Capabilities for Sustainable and Inclusive Digital Transformation in Nigeria, said this “percentage is unprecedented, and this is only the contribution of ICT to our GDP without calculating digital services”.
Pantami said digital access and connectivity have become a necessity, as they play an increasingly vital role in our everyday lives and have become key drivers of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Minister assured his audience, including representatives of ITU, FCDO, and other international agencies, embassies, and the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, that the “Federal Government understands that enormous private sector support, as well as support from international organisations, are essential to enable us to realise our lofty goals for Nigeria’s digital economy and this has informed our decision to partner with key international organisations such as the ITU and FCDO.
“The digital age is upon us, and all relevant stakeholders must be prepared for the enormous but inevitable change that will occur,” he said.
The Minister also assured of the Federal Government’s committed to the development of the digital economy, with a promise that “the Nigerian government will ensure that all critical infrastructure is made available for the facilitation of digital connectivity, transformation and ultimately, the realisation of a robust digital economy”.
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Professor Garba Danbatta revealed that the Federal Government’s policies in the communications and digital economy sector are already yielding positive results including a reduction in the access gap, improved digital financial inclusion and a steadily increasing contribution to the GDP.
He stated that the sector has remained the most resilient in the country while stressing that the Commission recognizes the need to do more in strengthening the telecommunication sector and improving internet penetration.
“As of the end of 2021, the estimated population of people living in the underserved areas declined from 31.16 million in 2019 to 28.87 million in 2021, and the access gaps reduced from 227 to 114,” he said.
Danbatta assured that the Commission will not rest on its oars in supporting Internet penetration and improvement of services but prepared to support internet penetrations and digital skills to give concrete expressions to policies and initiatives to close identified gaps.
“The Commission is quite conscious of the need to do more and considers this Roundtable as another opportunity to gather feedback as well as expert opinions of participants. Therefore, all participants are enjoined to contribute freely and recommend measures that will further support Nigeria in meeting its connectivity target and develop a robust digital economy. We look forward to the outcome of your deliberations and expect feedbacks that will deepen the conversations on policies and initiatives for digital access and connectivity in Nigeria,” the EVC urged participants.
Director, Public Affairs
23rd August 2022
NEWS RELEASE FACTSHEET
ITU-FCDO Roundtable and Technical Workshop:
Building capabilities for sustainable and inclusive digital transformation in Nigeria
Date: Tuesday, 23 August and Wednesday, 24 August 2022
Time: 10:00-17:00 WAT and 9:00-17:00 WAT
Place: Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Nigeria
The ITU-FCDO Roundtable and Technical Workshop around the theme of Building capabilities for sustainable and inclusive digital transformation in Nigeria will take place on 23-24 August 2022 in Abuja, Nigeria. The event is organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Nigeria Commissions Commission (NCC) in the context of the ITU-FCDO partnership on the implementation of the United Kingdom’s Digital Access Programme (DAP) activities.
The roundtable and technical workshop aim to deepen the understanding of business models and regulatory frameworks for promoting digital inclusion in Nigerian context, with emphasis on expanding last mile connectivity and its accompanying infrastructure and services in unserved and under-severed communities. Stakeholders will share and gain insights for leveraging broader trends in digital transformation with lessons learned for advancing digital skills and opportunities for young people. Insights from the panel discussions of the first day and the co-created ideas and suggestions of the second day of the roundtable will serve as input for the development of a policy brief on the building of capabilities for sustainable and inclusive digital transformation in Nigeria.
The ITU-FCDO Roundtable and Workshop themed Building capabilities for sustainable and inclusive digital transformation in Nigeria serves as a platform to gather partners to explore, share and present on the work that has been undertaken to date across the different pillars. The event is organized to provide stakeholders an opportunity to reflect upon Nigeria’s digital transformation, the impact that initiatives aimed at contributing towards the country’s digital inclusion goals like the ITU-FCDO DAP partnership has in the country, and allow stakeholders to share their plans for future work to scale the impact in a joint effort.
The first day of the event will take the form of high-level panel sessions while the second day will be dedicated to technical workshop session that allow experts to go deeper into some of the topics with a view to developing guidance that may inform further interventions and project activities.
The event will cover the following sub-themes and topics:
1. Business models and enabling environment for meaningful and affordable digital connectivity;
2. Development of digital skills and complementary capabilities in Nigeria’s digital economy;
3. Forward-looking approaches, polices and regulation to keep pace with the fast evolution of technologies and innovations that power digital transformation.
The event aims to bring together ITU, FCDO DAP partners in Nigeria, officials in charge of telecom/ICT such as those in the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Education, among others.
The roundtable and technical workshop sessions also target stakeholders in the organized private sector and regulators with focus on mobile network operators, Internet service providers, telecommunication infrastructure companies, finance, digital skills training institutes alongside academia, NGOs and community organizations, especially those who work in connectivity, digital inclusion and digital capacity related projects.