Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), wants stakeholders in the telecommunication sector to put in place right polices to fast-track digital growth in Africa.
Danbatta made this call at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Digital Bridge Institute Regional Human Capacity Building Workshop in Abuja.
The three-day workshop has the theme: “Strengthening Capacity on Internet Governance in Africa”.
He said there was need to put in place policies and institutions that will accelerate digital growth on the African continent.
“We need to also examine policies that are in place and change those policies that pertain to internet governance with a view to making them more impactful.
“Policies that we need to put in place must be such to deepen internet governance, we need to look at what we can do to fast-track blocking of internet access gaps.
“Because unless and until we do so, many of our citizens will continue to live without access to the internet, especially the right kind of internet connectivity, ‘the high speed internet, which is mostly facilitated by broadband infrastructure.
“NCC knows how important it is to ensure that network is available, the infrastructure necessary to facilitate access to internet and that is why the country is being divided into seven zones with a licensee each to deploy broadband infrastructure for each zone,‘’ he said.
Danbatta said NCC through the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) funds interventions aimed at providing training particularly to teachers in Nigerian tertiary institutions so that they can leverage the power of ICT to improve content delivery.
He said the training would also enable the teachers to access all relevant materials from the internet.
The NCC boss urged delegates at the workshop to make important suggestions on what can be done to bring about enabling policies and institutions that can transform the entire country as well as the African continent digitally.
Mr Marcelino Tayob, Representative of ITU Regional Office for Africa said the workshop which is an annual event of ITU regional office has the objective of providing a platform to share experiences and interact.
Tayob said the workshop dwells on matters selected for the theme of the year.
He said the annual workshop allows human resource professionals to meet under the guidance of the ITU to discuss and share views.
For 2018, we decided to combine the annual workshop on human capacity building and internet governance training.
“The ITU member states believe that capacity building of ITU members on internet governance is one of priorities to be addressed at this workshop with focus on at least developing countries,‘’ he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Administrator of DBI, said the workshop was aimed at discussing African concerns about human capacity building.
He said ITU member states have another opportunity to focus discussion on future of skills and knowledge as we seek to change the African landscape in the digital economy.
“We must take strategic decisions that are implementable during the shortest possible time.
“Africa is endowed with talented and vibrant youth population but a high population of them lack the skills and opportunity to participate meaningfully in growing the economy.
“In this context, digital skills are required for them to become genuine contributors in the present competitive market place, ‘’ Adinde said.
The DBI has consistently provided high and reliable resource for ICT skills development for Nigerians across all ages and divides. It is seriously focusing on the youth which according to Adinde is their strategy to create a digitally sustainable future for the nation.