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AfricaNXT 2022: Stakeholders affirm regulatory impact on digital connectivity ─NCC

*Stakeholders at the 2022 AfricaNXT in Lagos have identified the critical role digital connectivity is playing, and will continue to play in shaping the future of work, business growth, and content development in the Nigerian economy

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

As the week-long 2022 edition of AfricaNXT kicked off Monday, February 28, 2022, at the Landmark Event Centre, on Victoria Island, in Lagos, discussants at panel sessions and other participants have acknowledged the positive impact of Federal Government’s policy and regulatory efforts, through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in fostering increased digital connectivity in the economy.

ConsumerConnect reports the country’s telecoms sector regulatory Commission stated that there was a groundswell of opinion that improved connectivity has enhanced individual and corporate activities that are reinforcing socio-economic development in Nigeria.

Photo: All Events

Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, Director Public of Affairs at NCC, said the discussants particularly identified the critical role which digital connectivity is playing and will continue to play in shaping the future of work and the development of commercial activities in the country.

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The Commission also stated that at a panel discussion, titled: “Bridging the African Digital Economy Gap,” panelists examined in great depth and perspectives how digital economy gap can be addressed in Nigeria and across Africa towards supporting business owners to sustainably grow global brands emerging from the African continent.

In another panel discussion on “Future of Work: Exploring Pathways to Careers in the Digital Age”, panelists emphasised the transformational role digital connectivity is playing in bringing about efficient work environment, virtual collaboration at the work place, mobile work as well as remote work, thus replacing the hitherto brick and mortar business model, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Formerly known as Social Media Week Lagos, now rebranded AfricaNXT, the conference and festival is one of the largest technology events in Africa, with a gathering of business owners, innovators, technology enthusiasts and regulators, to discuss and network on how Africa can take its befitting place in the emerging global digital economy.

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According to the telecoms regulator, the NCC delegation has arrived the venue of the event in high spirit ready to participate in the various panel sessions ahead of the main NCC panel session on Fifth Generation Deployment scheduled for Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Lagos.

The Commission further stated that the panel session to be constituted by senior staff of NCC, on various regulatory aspects of 5G being driven by the NCC to deepen digital connectivity, will be a forum to educate hundreds of participants expected at the panel session.

“There are indications of enthusiasm about the NCC discourse and participants seem ready to use the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the new technology.

READ ALSO: NCC Committed To Addressing Telecoms Infrastructure Deficit, Improved Broadband Services ─Danbatta

“Over the years, NCC has put in place an effective regulatory regime that has continued to make the country witness increase in its Internet penetration and usage of digital media,” it noted.

The NCC further stated that as of December 2021, active mobile Internet subscriptions in the country reached over 141 million; active mobile (voice) subscriptions stood at 195.4 million, broadband penetration has reached 40.88 percent, while digital economy access gaps identified by the Commission are being drastically reduced to ensure saturated Internet connectivity across the country.

The NCC Director of Public Affairs said: “Besides, the Commission has facilitated deployment of emerging  technologies from the a First Generation (1G), to 2G, 3G and 4G-LTE, and is vigorously driving deployment of 5G network in the country with the recent auction of 3.5 Gigahertz (GHz) spectrum licences to operators that will deploy 5G technology in the country.

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“Also, NCC is driving effective implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy & Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030, and the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025 to actualise the laudable targets of deepening broadband penetration, reducing cost of broadband services, and improving digital literacy and skills.

“These, participants reckoned, have transformed businesses with multiplier effect on Nigeria’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in which the telecom sector contributes more than 12 percent.”

Earlier, at the first business session hosted by The Guardian newspaper, held after the opening plenary, discussants and participants visualised how African stories would be told in the next 10 years.

RELATED: Stakeholders, Broadband Access Critical To Effective 5G Deployment, National Development, Says Minister

The Commission as well noted there is a convergence of opinions that great developments in Africa could propel emergence of great brands that can shape the nature of content as well as their narrations to the benefit of Africa.

The extant NDEPS, NNBP, and the New Policy on 5G networks for Digital Nigeria, are expected to combine to shape the nature of and significance of content generation, processing and dissemination in Africa, said the NCC.

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