President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday said that the Federal Government had achieved 100 per cent broadband penetration across Nigeria.
The president said this in Abuja at a Digital Economy Conference tagged ‘Promoting a Vibrant Digital Economy, A Catalyst for Economic Growth in Nigeria’.
The conference was organised by the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA).
Represented by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isah Patami, the president said the figure was contrary to reports that the country had achieved 43 per cent penetration only.
According to him, reports on 43 per cent penetration is obsolete.
“One of the richest persons in the world announced that Nigeria out of the 54 African countries has outstanding broadband.
“As I speak to you today, the broadband penetration in Nigeria is 100 per cent,” Buhari said.
He said that the Federal Government performed excellently in terms of achieving wider broadband for Nigerians.
According to him, from 23 per cent coverage in 2019, this administration increased the broadband by 77 per cent in 2022 and 100 per cent in 2023.
“As at today, the broadband can be accessed everywhere in the country whether in the urban area, rural area or desert.
“We are the first African country to attain this and the only one so far,” the president said.
Buhari said the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy had been rated very high by an independent assessment.
He said, “70 per cent is distinction and the digital sector has surpassed it.
“We delivered excellently in all the eight priority areas in the sector.
“For instance on pillar number one, which is broadband penetration, we achieved 134 per cent, pillar number two, which is 4G penetration we achieved 127 per cent.
“Furthermore, we delivered 99 per cent on the third pillar, the fourth pillar, which has to do with national Identity we achieved 94 per cent.
“On the fifth pillar which is quarterly revenue generation, we moved from generating N51 billion in three months to N408 billion in three months.”
According to him, on the sixth pillar we achieved 103 per cent result, seventh pillar we achieved 111 per cent and the eight pillar we achieved 137 per cent.
On call by the President of NACCIMA for inclusion of the organised private sector in the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the president said the provision had been made.
He asked NACCIMA to forward the names of their representatives for consideration.
The National President of NACCIMA,Mr Ide Udeagbala said the conference was to among other things promote the technology ecosystem in Nigeria and establish potential of the digital economy for job creation.
He also said the conference was organised to identify the opportunities that existed in the technology industry and grow them by attracting local and foreign investments to Nigeria.
Udeagbala further said the conference would help identify challenges impeding development of the technology industry and encourage government to enunciate policies that would build on existing laws among others.
He said part of the discussions at the conference would also centre around establishing digital hubs in the six geo-political zones.
This, according to him will give opportunities to the rural areas, promote start-ups and encourage innovations in the industry while discovering technology savvy experts.
“The top five biggest technology companies in the world are managed and run by Indians.
“Microsoft Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is Satya Nadella, an Indian; Google CEO is Sundar Pichai, an Indian; Twitter CEO is Parag Agrawal, an Indian.
“Also, IBM CEO is Arvind Krishna, an Indian, and then Adobe CEO is Shantanu Narayen, also an Indian.
“This is besides the fact that Indian technology sector works with over 75 per cent of the fortune of 500 companies, with most of them having their Headquarters in the U.S.
“The question begging for answers is what stops Nigerian youths who distinguish themselves academically in every institution of the world from attaining this,” he said.
Udeagbala said it was time to move away from the narrative where some Nigerian youths were using technology for fraudulent activities commonly called ‘yahoo-yahoo’.
He called for the inclusion of the organised private sector in the National Council for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo commended NACCIMA for organising the conference.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director of Trade in the Ministry, Mr Sulaiman Audu, said the Ministry would collaborate with NACCIMA to explore the potential of digital economy.
The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Pauline Tallen said there was the need to improve women and people living with disabilities in the digital economy.
She said the Ministry would be willing to collaborate with actors in the digital world to mainstream women and other challenged persons in the society.
The event was attended by foreign nationals, captains of industry and other stakeholders.
NCC pledges support to Meta on digital economy initiatives
By Blessing Emmanuel, Abuja
The Nigerian Communi cations Commission (NCC) has pledged its readiness to support digital economic initiatives of investors, including Meta (formerly Facebook), that align with Nigeria’s vision for a robust digital economy.
During a visit to the NCC’s headquarters in Abuja, a delegation from Meta, led by Kojo Boakye, the company’s Vice President for Africa, the Middle-East, and Turkey, met with Dr. Aminu Maida, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The NCC EVC emphasised the importance of compliance with industry laws, regulations, and guidelines for creating a level-playing field that encourages healthy competition and sustainable growth in the Nigerian telecoms sector.
Boakye congratulating Dr. Maida on his appointment, shared Meta’s ongoing efforts to land the 2Africa submarine cable in Nigeria.
According to Boakye, “The 45,000-kilometer-long cable, scheduled to go live in 2023, will be one of the world’s largest subsea cable projects, interconnecting Europe (via Egypt), Asia (via Saudi Arabia), and Africa.
“With a design capacity of up to 180 terabytes per second (Tbps), the 2Africa cable aims to deliver much-needed Internet capacity and reliability across Africa, supporting the growth of 4G, 5G, and fixed broadband access.”
Boakye sought NCC’s support in navigating legal and regulatory processes for the cable’s landing in Nigeria, emphasising the positive impact it will have on connectivity and affordability.
The Meta delegation also outlined plans to simultaneously land the 2Africa cable in Lagos and Akwa-Ibom States through a consortium.
Boakye emphasised that this approach aims to connect those currently without access while enhancing and providing affordable access for those already connected.
Responding, Dr. Maida assured Meta of NCC’s commitment to supporting initiatives that align with Nigeria’s digital economy agenda and welcomed the potential benefits the 2Africa cable could bring to the country’s telecommunications landscape.
Minister Tijani reels out 100 days achievement, hails Tinubu
The Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy has reeled out his 100 days achievements as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
In a recent address, Minister Tijani expressed gratitude to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR for the unique honour bestowed upon him, and highlighted the collective accomplishments, outlining the path ahead for the Ministry.
Commending the unwavering support from directors, agency heads, and the entire team (NCC, NITDA, NigComSat, NDPC, NIPOST, GBB, etc), he emphasised the dynamic and cohesive force that has been shaped within the Ministry during this period.
Highlighting his achievements in office, Dr Tijani said, “The Ministry’s mandate, structured around five pillars – Knowledge, Policy, Infrastructure, Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Capital, and Trade – forms the core of the Strategic Blueprint. This blueprint guides the Ministry’s role in realizing the President’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
“In the first 100 days, the Knowledge pillar has been instrumental in driving initiatives, most notably the Three Million Technical Talent (3MTT) program. With over 1.6 million talented Nigerians applying in a month, partnerships, including a N1 Billion commitment from IHS Nigeria and UNDP’s funding for 3,000 internships, have significantly amplified the impact.
“The National AI Research Scheme received 2,118 proposals, showcasing the depth of talent in applying technology to critical sectors. Collaborations with the Raspberry Pi Foundation led to the establishment of Code Clubs in 17 locations, fostering technological talent from a young age.
“Under the Policy pillar, collaboration with NITDA resulted in the launch of the Startup Support and Engagement Portal, aligning with the Startup Act. White Papers on top AI talent of Nigerian descent and the 1:10:100 Implementation approach outline strategic directions.
“The Infrastructure pillar achieved milestones, including mapping over 2,500 innovation spaces and revamping NigComSat’s platforms. Extending coverage to underserved locations aligns with the commitment to providing digital opportunities. Engagements at global forums such as the Mobile World Congress and ITU-World Radio Conference underscore Nigeria’s global presence.”
On innovation, entrepreneurship and capital, Dr Tijani noted that “significant partnerships were forged under the Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Capital (IEC) pillar, including the $116 million financing for AFD’s I-DICE program and a $100 million Global AI partnership.”
“Initiatives like the 4IRTA platform and the Young Innovative Builders program demonstrate dedication to leveraging technology for sustainable development,” he narrated.
The Minister explained further that the achievements of his 100 days in office were a result of collective efforts that have shaped the first 100 days.
ONDI receives 11,183 applications for third cohort of Ihatch
The Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation (ONDI) has disclosed that it received 11,183 applications for the third cohort of the Ihatch programme.
The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa made this known at the Ihatch startup incubation programme 2nd cohort demo day and 3rd cohort opening ceremony organised by the subsidiary of the agency, Office for Nigerian Digital Innovation (ONDI), in partnership with Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA) in Abuja.
Inuwa noted that the ihatch five-month free intensive incubation programme executed by the ONDI and hosted within the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) is designed to help Nigerian tech entrepreneurs refine their business ideas through a series of coaching, lectures, and booth camps to develop scalable and adaptable business models that will focus on youth, innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology.
He added that the incubation programme will be held simultaneously in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Gombe, and Kano and JICA has agreed to extend the Fourth Cohort across each of the 36 States and the FCT. This is to enable wider reach and to stimulate the startup ecosystems across the States.
The DG stated that not fewer than 1,218 applications were received for the Second Cohort and the number was pruned down to 8 startups, comprising 16 persons, a Founder and Co-Founder for each startup, after undergoing levels of rigorous selection process conducted by a panel of judges, comprising experts in diverse areas of technology and innovative entrepreneurship.
He explained that the selection process assessed the startups’ ideas based on the criteria of profitability, scalability, social impact, idea technique, competitive advantage, experience, and a clearly defined future roadmap.
Inuwa further revealed that a total of 11,183 applications were received from across the 6 geopolitical zones for the Third Cohort. This culminated in the selection of the top 8 startups, comprising 16 founders in total that will participate in the Third Cohort that was launched.
He added that 16 startups that participated in the first and second cohorts of the iHatch incubation programme have moved on to achieve remarkable success in the areas of job creation, funding, participation in events, and valuable partnerships which have created a combined total of 179 direct jobs in the span of agriculture, health, education, and e-commerce sectors.
The DG further asserted that apart from the total grant of US$45,000 (US$15,000 each) for Proof of Concept (POC) to the top 3 startups in the first cohort, some of the startups have raised some funding through other sources. Xolani Health (a health tech startup from the first cohort) secured a grant worth US$155,000, BetaLife (a health tech startup from the first cohort) secured an angel investment of US$60,000, Gifty (an e-commerce startup from the second cohort) got a grant of USD$8,000 while two other startups from the first and second cohorts respectively, raised a combined total grant of US$6,000.
Inuwa affirmed the agency’s commitment to working with relevant stakeholders and partners towards the successful implementation of the Nigeria Startup Act (NSA) which will accelerate innovation and provide much-needed jobs for our teeming youths. Leaving nothing to chance in our resolve to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in our youth to catalyze the Nigerian digital economy to the next level.
The Honourable Minister, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite, represented by National Coordinator, National Talent Export Programme, Dr Femi Adeluyi, applauded NITDA for the various initiatives and programs put in place for the advancement of the tech ecosystem in the country.
Anite noted that the NITDA DG at the Digital Nigeria International Conference 2023 edition harped on the need for Nigeria to become the talent destination of the world where countries will come to seek a workforce that will work with them towards achieving their goals and objectives.
She added that “technology is a pivotal tool in all aspects of life which cannot be overemphasised and the green transition scoreboard global total has reached about $7.13 trillion for export and about $6.6 trillion for importation, the important aspect is that 54 percent of these activities is digitally edible and prepares people to be effective and efficient in the different sector of the economy is laudable.”
The Minister also appreciated JICA for its relentless efforts toward the advancement of the tech ecosystem in the area of automobile, development, training, scholarships, interventions and a lot more which has impacted the citizens directly or indirectly.
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