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Published On: Wed, Aug 28th, 2019

Digital transformation guarantees poverty alleviation -Danbatta

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By Etuka Sunday

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission(NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta yesterday disclosed that the digital transformation of the country would guarantee poverty alleviation, transparent governance and innovative economy.
Prof. Danbatta stated this at the Maiden Edition of Digital African Week currently holding in Abuja.
Organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in conjunction with the Management of ITU-T Study Group 20 (SG20) and Study Group 5 (SG5) Regional Group for Africa, the event is expected to facilitate deeper conversations on standardisations and regulatory issues that are germane to the progress and development of the ICT sector in the African continent.
The NCC boss said, Nigeria is right in the middle of digital transformation for more efficiency, productivity, effectiveness in the way and manner services are provided in the country, with the expected end results of poverty alleviation, transparent governance, competitive and innovative economy.
“This country is right in the middle of digital transformation and I do hope Nigerians watching this programme will appreciate.
“What are we talking about when we say we are transforming governance digitally? It is about us transforming the key sectors of this country. What are these sectors- agriculture, finance, banking, commercial sector, transportation and health. These are some of the sectors we wish to transform digitally to ensure more efficiency and productivity, more effectiveness in the way and manner we provide services to Nigerians.
“The end of digital transformation is alleviation of poverty, providing effective and transparent governance creating a competitive and innovative economy. This is the main objective of this conference,” he said.
Danbatta noted that the standardisation of emerging technologies such as IoT, Smart Cities & Communities, E-waste & Circular Economy and Electromagnetic radiations are very important to the African continent.
“These study groups are trying to bring out standards to regulate the use of Internet of Things, smart applications and smart cities and communities as well as how to deploy the very important features of circular economy in this part of the world,” he added.
He said, in realization of the pivotal role of broadband in the deployment of IoT devices and smart services, the Commission has developed framework to facilitate the deployment of broadband infrastructure across the country through the licensing of infrastructure companies (Infraco) to deploy metro and inter-city fiber and broadband Point of Access with a minimum capacity of 10Gbps across the 774 Local Government Areas of Nigeria.
He informed the gathering, that Nigeria has not only achieved but exceeded the 30% penetration target set by the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018.
“At the end of June 2019, our broadband penetration stood at 33.31%. We will continue to work hard to ensure that all citizens of Nigeria have access to affordable broadband connection irrespective of their circumstances or location. The digital transformation agenda of the Federal Government is anchored on Availability, Accessibility and Affordability of broadband.
“The NCC will continue to drive and implement policies, projects and programs aimed at facilitating digital revolution and digital inclusion in Nigeria,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chairperson, ITU-T SG5- Regional Group Africa, Helen Nakiguli said, the ITU study Group 5 is responsible for studying ICT environment aspects of electromagnetic phenomena and climate change.
“The study group is also mandated to study issues related to resistibility, human exposure to electromagnetic fields, E-waste, circular economy, energy efficiency and climate change adaptation and mitigation,” she said.
The event brought together leading Specialists in the field, from top policy-makers to engineers, designers, smart city planners, government officials, regulators, standards experts, the academia among others.

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