Paschal Agonsi

Nigeria to Benefit from UK’s £1.2bn Digital Inclusion Fund

Dantatta NCC Digital Inclusion

The government of the United Kingdom (Uk) is collaborating with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), on how Nigeria will benefit from the £1.2 billion intervention fund, set aside by the UK government to create wealth and posterity in selected countries around the world.

To be part of the intervention fund, the Nigerian Communications Commission and the government of the United Kingdom (UK), have agreed to collaborate on digital inclusion, cybersecurity and capacity building.

The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, made the disclosure shortly after he met with a delegation from the UK, who paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

The delegation was led by the Senior Private Sector Development Adviser and Head Digital Inclusion at Department of Foreign and International Development (DFID), of the UK government, Alessandra Lustrati.

According to Lustrati, “This delegation is here to explore how the UK government can channel a significant intervention to the tune of £1.2 billion to create wealth and posterity in selected countries around the world.

“And this creation of posterity will leverage on the power of ICT to provide access to unserved and underserved areas in the country. The intervention is also on cyber security and capacity building.”

Lustrati told the EVC that the UK government was hoping to start the implementation of the intervention from as early as April, 2019, noting that the project was deliberately made “country-specific” to enable countries like Nigeria choose the nature of the interventions they desire.

Danbatta had told the delegation that there were 200 access gaps in Nigeria and that the Commission was looking at different rural technology solutions to plug them in two years, as against the 20 years projected.

“With the right rural technology solution, we can do it faster, because at the rate we are plugging the gaps, it will take us about 20 years to conclude. These gaps deprive 40 million Nigerians of access to telecommunications services, out of 190 million.
“The good thing about getting a solution to the access gap problem is that, we know where the gaps are, we have our access gap map, we can actually point out where the gaps are,” Danbatta stressed.

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