UK, Nigerian govts, Greenfields Law collaborate to bridge digital divide in Nigeria
The UK Government’s Prosperity Fund’s Digital Access Programme and Greenfields Law, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) are working on a new initiative to promote digital inclusion in Nigeria.
The trio is set to host a Technical Conference on Bridging the Digital divide for Underserved or Unserved Communities and Persons Living with Disabilities in a COVID-19 Context in Nigeria.
The virtual conference, scheduled to hold on 11 March 2021 will feature a presentation to the stakeholders of findings and recommendations from the diagnostic of an earlier study on the impact of the Digital Divide on underserved or unserved communities and persons living with disabilities during the persisting Covid-19 pandemic.
The study was commissioned under the UK Government Prosperity Fund’s Digital Access Programme and undertaken by Greenfields Law.
According to a press statement by the organisers today, the Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, The British Deputy High Commissioner, state governors, local government officials and chief executive officers of telecommunications companies, civil society organizations and consumers are among the stakeholders expected to participate at the technical conference.
According to Osondu Nwokoro, the managing counsel of Greenfields Law and a leading telecommunications policy, law and regulation practitioner, the study was guided by extant national and international constitutional, legal, policy and regulatory provisions.
He explained that valuable information was garnered from women and girls, unemployed youth, persons living with disabilities in urban, peri-urban and rural areas from all the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, civil society organizations, telecommunications service providers, the regulators and policy making agencies of government at various levels.
From this process, Nwokoro said, the information gathered was utilized to develop pragmatic Nigeria-specific solutions towards bridging the digital gap between the underserved/unserved communities and PLWDs and other vulnerable segments of the society and to facilitate their digital inclusion during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic which has significantly irreversibly altered the usual mode of socio-economic engagements.
The overarching essence of the study, according to him, was to aid the attainment of the aspirations of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, 2019 and the National Broadband Plan, 2020-2025. Meanwhile, Nwokoro also appreciated the UK Government for continuing to play a key role in supporting Nigeria’s digital sector and inclusive economic growth and sustainability.