By Nkechi Isaac |
Minister of communications and digital economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has charged the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA) to ensure a speedy development of a seamless telecommunications network and infrastructure across West Africa. Pantami stated this in his opening remarks at the 18th Annual General Meeting of the Assembly yesterday in Abuja.
Pantami noted that the objectives of WATRA can be achieved through the formulation and implementation of sound regulatory policies, programmes and initiatives that will leverage the impressive growth of the sector, especially the Nigerian Telecommunications Sector.
“It is noteworthy that the Nigerian telecommunications sector grew by 15.9 per cent in 2020 from 11.41 per cent in 2019 and 11.33 per cent in 2018, thereby recording the highest growth rate in the last 10 years.
“This unprecedented development is attributed to the development and implementation of policies and strategies for the Nigerian Digital Economy Sector, one of which is the Nigerian National Broadband Plan, which is aimed at the significant reduction of access gaps through the expansion of broadband in the country,” he said.
In his remarks, the executive vice-chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta, urged ICT experts across West Africa to be ambitious towards its speedy growth in the area, adding that WATRA’s potential in driving socio-economic development in the region was inestimable.
He was optimistic that the time has come for all to come together and propel WATRA to achieve its true potential in putting the region at the forefront of ICT development within the Continent and engender a truly digitised regional society.
“To this end, we must come together and see our differences as strengths because at the end of the day, we all want to have a safe and thriving society devoid of poverty and strife.
“We envision societies with necessary infrastructure and services that will ensure prosperity for all our people. The key is ‘ICT’ and WATRA is the best platform to pool together our huge natural and Human Resources to achieve exponential ICT growth which will in turn drive our economies,” he said.
On his part, the chairman, WATRA exco, Charles Tontoma Milogo from Burkina Faso thanked the Nigerian government, especially the EVC, NCC for hosting the meeting, adding that the West African countries would rise to champion ICT development in the region.