Information and communication technology (ICT) adoption and use are synonymous with empowerment because it efficiently transforms processes and acts as an amplifier of effectiveness in operations in every area of the economy, including commerce, agriculture, health, security, and governance.
Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC) Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), stated this on Thursday, January 13, 2022, while giving the Fountain University’s 10th and 11th combined Convocation Lectures in Osogbo, Osun State.
Danbatta recalled the impact of the ICT revolution in all aspects of human endeavor across countries and continents in his paper titled “Empowering the Nigerian Youth through Information and Communication Technology,” insisting that technology will continue to penetrate and foster qualitative and quantifiable changes in all aspects of human endeavor.
People, organizations, and countries across the globe have continued to see leaps and bounds in economic, social, and political activities thanks to the use of ICT, which, according to Danbatta, has combined computing, information, and communication technology to catalyze development in ways that humans never imagined decades ago.
Uber, the world’s largest taxi firm, owns no vehicles; Airbnb, the world’s largest lodging provider, owns no real estate; and Facebook, the world’s most popular public-facing digitally mediated social networking platform, creates little or no content, according to Danbatta. Alibaba, a renowned global retailer, has very little inventory and has become a beacon of success based solely on ICT resources.
To Danbatta, it would have been a failed prophecy decades ago if anyone had predicted that a firm with no car would govern more than 75 million active commercial drivers in at least 80 nations just by using an app. It’s also debatable whether a corporation can accommodate millions of travellers and visitors in over 100,000 places throughout the world with just an app.
Similarly, as of June 2021, Alibaba had over 828 million annual active customers across its China retail markets, despite not having any inventory. It goes without saying that Facebook’s troves of content are created by its 2.89 billion monthly active users.
The NCC CEO stated that the preceding contextual demonstrations of ICT’s capabilities explain the Federal Government’s policy decisions to strengthen ICT adoption in building a robust digital economy in Nigeria, as eloquently expressed in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030; the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025; and other series of policies, guidelines, and regulations derivative of the NDEPS and NNBP.
He explained that the government’s adoption of digital revolutions is having a multiplier effect across crucial sectors, assisting in job creation, better governance, youth empowerment, and overall socioeconomic development.
It is for this reason that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is referred to (4IR).
Indeed, ICT has consistently contributed more than 10% of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for more than ten years – the telecom sector alone contributed 12.45% to GDP in the fourth quarter of 2020,” he stated.
Given that Nigeria accounts for 82% of Africa’s ICT market and 29% of continental Internet usage, and that Sub-Sahara Africa is the fastest growing region for ICT adoption, the Federal Government established a broadband vision that envisions Nigeria as a society of connected communities with high-speed broadband access and connectivity.
By 2025, the EVC predicts that rural areas will have Internet speeds of 10 megabits per second (Mbps) while metropolitan areas would have 25 Mbps. Furthermore, by 2025, effective coverage will be provided to at least 90% of the population at a cost of N390 per gigabyte of data.
The NCC has connected to government policies through its Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024 and the Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) 2021-2025, which streamline the provision of key extant policies for effective implementation by the Commission, explained the professor of telecommunications engineering to the audience.
As a result, Danbatta passionately urged Nigerian youths to take advantage of the Federal Government’s commendable policies, which have manifested themselves in many of the Commission’s activities aimed at Nigerian youths. The ICT Hubs Support and Engagement initiative, which brings young people in the Nigerian tech ecosystem together to discuss and promote frameworks and strategies for the sector’s development, is a perfect example of these activities and interventionist programs.
According to him, the engagement’s overarching goal is to harness young people’s innovative and creative energy in order to promote ICT innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as to provide a link between policymakers, industry, entrepreneurs, and tech enthusiasts in order to leverage the power of digital technology through local content development. “This participation and collaboration is consistent with the Commission’s inclusion policy, which development academics believe is necessary for growth and development,” he said.
Prof. Danbatta was described as an accomplished academician and administrator by the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Olalekan Sanni, in his welcome address. Prof. Danbatta’s wealth of experience was considered worthy of tapping into by the university community in order to propose solutions to the issue of youth empowerment and to suggest ways to improve Nigeria’s socio-economic life through effective leveraging of ICT.
Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde