The Nigerian Communications Commission and the government of the United Kingdom (UK), have agreed to collaborate on digital inclusion, cyber security and capacity building in what is seen as a major step towards bridging access gaps in the country.
This was disclosed at the weekend by the executive vice chairman and chief executive officer of the Commission, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, shortly after a meeting with Alessandra Lustrati, senior private sector development adviser and head, Digital Inclusion at Department of Foreign &International Development (DFID) led high-powered delegation from the UK, who paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.
“This delegation is here to explore how the UK Government can channel a significant intervention to the tune of £1.2 billion to create wealth and posterity in selected countries around the world. And this creation of posterity will leverage on the power of ICT to provide access to unserved and underserved areas in the country. The intervention is also on cyber security and capacity building, three key areas,” he explained.
Earlier, Prof Danbatta had told the delegation that there were 200 access gaps in Nigeria and the Commission was looking at different rural technology solutions to plug them in 2 years, as against the 20 years projected. “With the right rural technology solution, we can do it faster, because at the rate we are plugging the gaps, it will take us about 20 years to conclude.
“These gaps deprive 40 million Nigerians of access to telecommunications services, out of 190 million. The good thing about getting a solution to the access gap problem is that, we know where the gaps are, we have our access gap map, we can actually point out where the gaps are,” he stressed.
Speaking earlier, Lustrati told the EVC that the UK government was hoping to start the implementation of the intervention from as early as April, 2019, noting that the project was deliberately made “country-specific” to enable countries like Nigeria choose the nature of the interventions they desire.
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