The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has expressed its belief that its efforts at promoting Information and Communication Technology (ICT) innovation and leveraging on emerging technologies will accelerate Federal Government’s agenda to create jobs that will lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty.
The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta stated this in keynote address he presented at a two-day forum on “Emerging Technologies Research and ICT Innovation. The event took place at New Keffi Hotel, Keffi, Nasarawa State. Danbatta affirmed that NCC’s objective for the forum aligns with the Commission’s 8-Point Agenda of promoting investment opportunities and ICT innovation by facilitating strategic partnership and collaboration.
The NCC Chief Executive, who was represented at the forum by Dr. Haru Alhassan, Director, New Media and Information Security at NCC, emphasized the central role of ICT Innovators, tech enthusiasts and tech entrepreneurs, whose activities will help in generating employment for the teeming youths, enhance ICT knowledge and skills, increase income and promote overall economic development in the country.
The EVC informed the participants that reports from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that ICT currently contributes 13.9 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), surpassing the contribution of oil and gas sector which is 8.8 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product as at October 2019. Danbatta assured the participants that telecom sector and by extension, the entire ICT industry has the potential to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty by 2030. This is because ICT innovations have the transformational power to impact all sectors of the economy, to impact our lives and to generate unprecedented wealth for Nigeria and individuals.
According to Danbatta, the activities and telling outcomes at the Silicon Valley in the United States indicate the possibilities derivable from ICTs what is possible in Nigeria, and “our aim is to replicate and develop a programme similar to Silicon Valley which we call ‘Silicon WaZoBia’ within the Nigerian ICT ecosystem,” Danbatta said.
While reflecting on the recent Fifth Generation (5G) trials conducted by MTN in Abuja, Calabar and Lagos, under the supervision of the Commission, Danbatta said with 5G, “the country should be ready to witness a greater revolution and transformational impact in economy with the increased usage of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain technology and Big Data – all of which are expected to become the next phase of ICT deployment that users will interface with for boosting efficiency and effectiveness in their operations.”
Danbatta, stated that the industry will achieve greater development and growth with the Federal Government’s supportive policies and directives, and with continuous consultation and formulation of regulations that will promote regulatory excellence and operational efficiency in the industry.
He also noted that measures will be put in place to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and local investment. Accordingly, the EVC, solicited the support of all stakeholders noting that it is a collective responsibility of all relevant stakeholders in the telecom/ICT industry to ensure the consolidation of the gains of the sector.