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Danbatta urges Nigerian youths to utilise ICT for future living, leadership

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC Photo: NCC

*Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, discloses the NCC is collaboratively and strategically working with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to prepare youths for harnessing ICT-oriented opportunities for personal and national prosperity  

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has stated that 70 percent of the new value to be created in the Nigerian economy over the next decades will be based on digitally-enabled platform business models.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, affirmed that the telecoms regulatory Commission is fixated on implementing all sectoral interventions in connection with  Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for youth empowerment in the country.

The NCC noted Prof. Danbatta made this declaration while delivering the 10th and 11th Convocation Lecture of the Fountain University, Osogbo, Osun State.

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The Commission’s to pursue very vigorously a bouquet of ICT programmes focused on the youths is based on the projected opportunity for the young population in the emerging ICT-based labour market, he said.

Huge opportunities to own businesses

The EVC/CEO of the Commission recalled that statistics from Global System for Mobile Communication Association (GSMA) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), have indicated that unique mobile subscriptions are expected to grow up to 5.7 billion by 2025 with concurrent growth in Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) connections, and Internet subscriptions and corresponding growth in operators’ revenue and investment.

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According to him, the Fourth Generation (4G) connections are expected to grow to 57 percent; Fifth Generation (5G) is also envisaged to have 1.8 billion connections; usage of smartphones are projected to grow to 81 percent; Internet of Things (IoT) will grow from 13.1 billion to 24 billion connections; and contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the mobile industry is expected to grow by at least 5.1 per cent by 2025.

Danbatta further stated that the implications of the foregoing is a huge, incredible opportunity for youths to own businesses.

NCC’s programmes and initiatives for young Nigerians

He further said in his lecture: “Therefore, while NCC is working collaboratively and strategically with its supervising Ministry, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, it is also working with young Nigerians to prepare them for harnessing these opportunities for personal and national prosperity.

Prof. Danbatta (middle), Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director of Public Affairs at NCC (far left), with the NCC 2021 National Essay Competition Winners in Abuja, FCT

“It is this huge prospect that informed NCC to institute a number of initiatives and interventions targeting the youth in a unique and unprecedented institutionalisation of strategic collaboration and partnership.”

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Danbatta also stated that such programmes include the ICT Hubs Support and Engagement, which is a forum that brings together key players, actors and the youths in Nigerian tech-ecosystem to deliberate and suggest policy framework and strategies that could further develop the sector to catalyse improved local content in the ICT/telecommunications sector.

There is also the annual ICT Innovation Competition and Exhibition aimed at facilitating sustainable digital start-ups development through a platform to showcase their digital innovative solutions, said he.

The NCC EVC/CEO as well noted the Annual Hackathon, which is designed to challenge start-ups and tech hubs in Nigeria to produce impactful and sustainable innovative solutions that will address common societal challenges, using digital technologies.

Besides, Danbatta said the ICT Park Project being built across the six geo-political zones of the West African country is designed to boost digital skills among young people, promote innovation, provide jobs for young Nigerian.

He stated ultimately, the park project is to support the Federal Government Digital Agenda, which is equally a strategic programme focused on harnessing and optimising the youths’ creative energy for development.

According to him, other related projects include the NCC National Essay Competition engaging undergraduates in the Nigerian tertiary institutions to explore and enhance research in tertiary institutions and build capacity.

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The NCC Chief also said the school support programmes which include the Digital Awareness Programme (DAP), a special intervention initiated as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project in response to the digital information knowledge gap observed in the country’

The Advanced Digital Appreciation Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI), is another instituted to bridge the knowledge skill gap in higher institutions of learning, largely target the youths and students.

Danbatta urged the youths to consciously take note of emergent segments in ICT that are available for them to explore.

These, according to him, include Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data.

He also enjoined youths and students to pay attention not only to any of those technology segments but also their overlapping variables, such as hyper-connectivity, super-computing, cybersecurity, and smarter world such as robotics, 3D printing, and sensors – which are at the heart of the circular economy.

In recognition of the innovative minds of Nigeria’s huge youth population, therefore, Danbatta said the NCC had put all the ICT youth empowerment initiatives to support a digitally-skilled workforce that will fit into the Digital Economy Project of Nigeria.

The EVC/CEO stated: “The Commission is committed to fostering partnership and collaboration with the technology hubs and startups, to accelerate innovations and the creation of a digitally-skilled workforce for industrial growth and sustainable development of the nation.”

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