How NCC is Promoting Local Solutions by Nigerian Youths to Bridge Digital Gap, Danbatta Reveals
- The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) kicked off its annual Emerging Technologies Research & ICT Innovation Annual Competition/Exhibition in Lagos on Tuesday, February 7
- In his keynote address at the opening event, the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, revealed the objective of the competition
- Also, the lead paper presenter at the event, Dr Abdullateef Bello, the CEO of Datstrats Consulting Limited, listed the benefits of promoting local digital solutions
Lagos, Nigeria - From Lalita which provides seamless payments without smartphones and an internet connection to FLOEWS, a Flood Early Warning System, Nigerian youths displayed innovative digital and local solutions to Nigeria’s challenges at the NCC’s Emerging Technologies Research & ICT Innovation Annual Competition/Exhibition.
The competition which was organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) kicked off at Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) in Lagos on Tuesday, February 7.
Danbatta: NCC using ICT innovation competition to bridge digital gap through local solutions
In his keynote address, the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, said the commission is empowering local innovators to bridge the digital gap in the country using indigenous solutions.
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Danbatta who was represented by Engr. Ubale Maska, the Executive Commissioner Technical Services, NCC, said by promoting the development and adoption of indigenous content, the NCC will help to ensure that digital technologies meet the needs of local users and communities.
“Digital divide refers to the gap between those who have access to and are able to use digital technologies and those who do not,” he said, adding that this gap can be found not just between countries, but also within countries, and has significant consequences for socio-economic development.
“This year’s theme is “Utilising Indigenous Digital Solutions to Bridge the Digital Divide,” and it is an important and timely theme.
“Bridging this divide is essential for achieving sustainable economic development and social advancement, as well as for achieving the goals of the Federal Government’s Digital Nigeria Agenda.”
According to the NCC boss, the competition serves as a platform for tech enthusiasts and other stakeholders with novel ideas and tech solutions for the industry and societal challenges to showcase their creative innovations and forge collaborative partnerships that can stimulate productivity, sustainability, and continuous growth in the ICT sector.
He further explained that the contest was in line with Nigeria’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, specifically pillars 5, 7, and 8, which focus on digital service development and promotion, digital society and emerging technologies, and indigenous content development and adoption.
Three key areas the competition focuses on
Speaking further, Danbatta noted that this year’s competition will focus on three key areas: digital service development and promotion, indigenous content development and adoption, and funding digital skills building and innovation in Nigeria.
According to him, these areas were chosen because they are critical for developing indigenous businesses into world-class service providers and creating conditions for iterative problem-solving by indigenous digital technology and innovation service providers.
In terms of digital service development and promotion, the NCC chief said it is important to support the growth and development of digital businesses in Nigeria.
He explained that this includes not just tech startups, but also small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and even large corporations that are looking to adopt digital technologies and improve their operations.
“By providing a platform for these businesses to showcase their innovations and forge partnerships, we can help to stimulate productivity, sustainability, and continuous growth in the ICT sector,” Prof Danbatta said.
Indigenous content development and adoption is another important focus area for this year’s competition identified by the commission.
“One of the key challenges that we face in the ICT sector is the lack of locally produced content. This can be a barrier to the adoption of digital technologies, as it means that users often have to rely on foreign-produced content, which may not always be relevant or appropriate for the local context.
“By promoting the development and adoption of indigenous content, we can help to ensure that digital technologies are better able to meet the needs of local users and communities,” he said.
Finally, funding digital skills building and innovation in Nigeria is acknowledged as critical for ensuring that the country has the necessary human capital to drive the growth and development of the ICT sector.
He said this includes not just technical skills, but also business and entrepreneurship skills, as well as a range of other skills that are necessary for success in the digital economy.
“By providing funding for skills building and innovation, we can help to ensure that the ICT sector has the talent it needs to thrive and grow,” he added.
He reminded the participants that the competition is about more than just showcasing innovative ideas and tech solutions, stressing that it is also about supporting the growth and development of digital start-ups in Nigeria.
“I therefore encourage all participants in this year’s competition to take full advantage of this opportunity to showcase their innovative ideas and tech solutions, and to make the most of the networking and collaboration opportunities that this event provides,” he said.
Meanwhile, earlier in his welcome address, Engr Maska, said the competition was designed to foster increased national innovativeness and sustainable digital startup development.
The Executive Commissioner Technical Services, NCC, added that the event was also planned to provide a platform for entrepreneurs and innovators to showcase their ideas and solutions to a wider audience.
Why Nigeria needs local solutions to bridge digital divide - Abdullateef Bello
In his presentation at the event, Dr Abdullateef Bello, the CEO of Datstrats Consulting Limited, listed the benefits of the indigenisation of digital solutions.
Among others, Dr Bello said promoting local solutions will help Nigeria to attain self-sufficiency and self-reliance, reduce dependency syndrome on foreign countries, reduce foreign exchange spending, promote inclusive society and standards of living of citizens, create new digital jobs and promote innovation culture.
To promote local solutions, the Datstrats CEO recommended the establishment of a Digital Sustainability Fund (DSF) and the lunch of at least 2 Digital Accelerator Centers in strategic locations to provide a wide range of support to indigenous digital start-up incubators, among others.
NCC warns Nigerians to remove five Google Chrome extensions on their phones, laptops immediately
In another report, the NCC’s Computer Security Incident Response Team (NCC-CSIRT) identified five malicious Google Chrome Extensions.
According to the commission, the extensions surreptitiously track online browser activities and steal users' data.
The five malicious extensions are McAfee Mobile, Netflix Party 2, Full Page Screenshot Capture Screenshotting, FlipShope Price Tracker Extension, and AutoBuy Flash Sales.