The Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta, on Sunday disclosed that Nigeria is one of the countries that will benefit from a £1.2 billion intervention fund which the British Government has earmarked to help facilitate people’s access to communication.
Danbatta made this disclosure after a meeting in Abuja with some delegates from the British Government’s Department of Foreign and International Development. The meeting was held to enable the parties involved to agree on the modalities of the of the collaboration, the entailment of which is said to include digital inclusion, cybersecurity and capacity building.
According to Professor Danbatta, this initiative will also ultimately ensure that jobs are created and prosperity actualised.
“This delegation is here to explore how the UK government can channel a significant intervention to the tune of £1.2bn to create wealth and posterity in selected countries around the world.
“This creation of posterity will leverage the power of the ICT to provide access to un-served and underserved areas in the country. The intervention is also on cybersecurity and capacity building, three key areas.”
Earlier in the course of the meeting, Professor Danbatta informed the British Government officials that Nigeria has some two hundred “access gaps” which his organisation is working hard to redress within a two-year period.
He believes that the use of rural technology will facilitate this assignment because “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.”
Note that the communications sector in Nigeria is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country, thanks to relatively good regulations as well as the success of major players such MTN, Glo, Airtel and 9mobile.
But the lack of adequate infrastructure (especially in rural communities) has been one of the greatest challenges stalling growth.
It is, therefore, expected that with this investment, the challenges can be taken care of even as the sector record even greater growth.