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Buhari Foresees Nigeria Driven by Prosperous Cyberspace, Digital Economy

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Digital Economy

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed optimism that Nigeria will be great with the help of the internet and the digital economy.

However, he stressed that to achieve this, efforts must be made to sanitise the cyberspace and explore the internet for economic growth opportunities, enhancement of knowledge and mitigation of crime.

He, therefore, called for an overhaul of the national strategy on cybersecurity.

Speaking on Tuesday in Abuja at the launch of the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy (NCPS) 2021, the President tasked the National Security Adviser (NSA), Mr Babagana Monguno, to continue to “coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders to ensure that our internet and cyberspace are used for the enhancement of national security and economic progression.”

“I am confident that, together, we can pave the way for the creation of new opportunities to usher Nigeria into a bright future driven by a prosperous cyberspace and digital economy,” Mr Buhari said.

According to him, his administration has taken some major policy decisions to increase penetration of the internet in the daily lives of citizens, particularly for the utilitarian purpose, with the launch of the National Broadband Plan 2020 – 2025 in March 2020; National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020 – 2030; National Identity Program, Treasury Single Account and  Bank Verification Number schemes.

He stressed that, “All these initiatives serve as enablers for tackling many of the economic and security challenges facing our country while also providing us with the platform to improve accountability and transparency in our unwavering resolve to tackle corruption.”

“However, like many other countries across the globe, the growth and development of the internet is accompanied by significant problems. We are witnessing a rise in threats posed by cybercriminals, online financial fraudsters and cyber terrorists who use the internet to cause apprehension,” he added.

The President noted that the internet and social media have witnessed a surge in the propagation of hate speech, fake news, seditious and treasonable messages, as well as the risks of breaches to personal information and government sensitive data.

“It is almost impossible to overstate the challenges. Some global events such as the rapid emergence of new technologies, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the advent of 5G technology, have further widened the scope and diversification of these cyber threats.

“In October 2020, we all witnessed an escalation in the use of the social media for dissemination of subversive messages and incitement of violence which played a part in heightening tensions, causing unrest and spurring widespread acts of looting and destruction across the country,” he stated.

President Buhari said the federal government had been proactive, over the past couple of years, in taking steps to ensure progressive use of the internet and cyberspace.

“In 2014, the maiden National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy was developed to provide the necessary roadmap for the realisation of our national cybersecurity programme. This national effort paved way for Nigeria to reach numerous cybersecurity milestones over the past six years.

“Therefore, in order to build on this achievement and reposition ourselves for enhanced engagement in cyberspace, it became expedient to review the National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2014 and develop a comprehensive National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 2021 for the common good of our country,” he said.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Why Digital and Tech Skills Need to be Included at all Levels of Education

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digital in financial services

Education is, without a doubt, a fundamental human right. Today, digitalisation enables us to improve education and provide equal access to all. But where do we even begin?

In a world where everything is online, and any business that isn’t online is losing money, failing to teach our children digital skills for today and tomorrow will only widen our continent’s skills gap. This is because more than half of today’s professions demand technical abilities.

So, why is it critical for the technology industry to be involved in education at all levels?

Nurture future champions of the industry

Technology literacy and digital literacy are crucial for Africa’s future. And while we are making progress with the introduction of coding in primary schools in countries like Kenya and South Africa, we still have a ways to go.

“We know that every technology business is hampered in its growth by a severe lack of talent across Africa, and it is up to us as a part of that ecosystem to help develop and nurture future champions of the industry,” says Sean Riley, CEO at Ad Dynamo by Aleph.

“Unfortunately, there is still a substantial skills gap in Africa, and to solve it, we must begin at the grassroots level. We live in an increasingly digital world, so it is only logical that we begin teaching digital skills,” adds Riley.

Provide more flexible pathways

According to a World Economic Forum report, 65% of today’s primary school children will eventually be working in job types that do not exist yet, while the International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates that by 2030, more than 230 million jobs in Africa will require digital skills.

“It is therefore clear that emerging economies face significant upskilling challenges, which need to be addressed throughout the educational careers of young people. Businesses and educational institutions must work together to ensure that learners are equipped to handle the ever-changing nature of work.

“The business sector, in particular, should take the lead in this regard, whether through training sessions, providing more flexible skills pathways, or through the recognition of short courses, as well as online and self-learning,” says Vanashree Govender, Huawei SA spokesperson.

Technology innovation is happening so quickly that training must now be adjusted constantly, almost in real time, as new systems, applications, and devices come to market.

Conscious of the need for technology-driven upskilling, Huawei has built strong relationships with training and education institutions and established programmes such as our ICT Academies at universities and TVET colleges and our Seeds for the Future programme, which aims to develop skilled, local ICT talent.

Contextual education

“Education needs to be contextual. It should enable children to understand things around them and prepare them for real-world challenges. As technology has become ubiquitous, it is important to teach children how it impacts the world and helps them understand how it can be utilised to solve various problems,” says Andrew Bourne, Regional Manager, Africa – Zoho Corp.

Prepare students for an evolving workplace

Students require more than a functional knowledge of digital and technological skills to succeed in the world. By incorporating these technologies into the normal curriculum and ongoing activities, institutions ensure that their students are more equipped for the modern workplace.

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Technology

MTN Nigeria Partners Ericsson for Effective 5G Services

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MTN Nigeria Ericsson

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A deal has been reached between Ericsson and MTN Nigeria for the launching of 5G services in Lagos and a few cities in the first phase of the collaboration.

With Ericsson Radio System, MTN will provide advanced mobile broadband and fixed wireless access services, unlocking a range of new opportunities in the enterprise domain.

The new 5G services can bring about unique, sustainable development initiatives for agriculture, energy, financial inclusion, and security, overcoming past institutional challenges and barriers to growth.

In the future, MTN Nigeria’s Ericsson-powered 5G network will be driven by software-defined network capabilities where a combination of currently available and well-understood AI techniques will allow a higher degree of practical autonomous operation.

AI creates opportunities for improved performance, higher efficiency, enhanced customer experience, and new business models and uses cases for 5G, IoT and enterprise.

“5G will revolutionize the way we live and communicate across industries. With the speeds 5G offers, we will be able to experience the internet with low latency, which means no lag, making our virtual interactions more real.

“At MTN, we will continue to pursue the rollout of 5G technology to revolutionize internet access across the continent,” the Chief Technical Officer at MTN Nigeria, Mr Mohammed Rufai, said.

“5G is not just about speed. 5G helps people do more with their devices, unlocking a whole new world of possibilities for society.

“5G connectivity is likely to pave the way for life-altering advancements, and we are proud to be a part of Nigeria’s 5G digital transformation that has only just begun.

“With connectivity being the backbone of digitization, we are committed to delivering the best service to our partners at MTN Nigeria to support them in this thrilling journey,” the Vice President of Ericsson Middle East and Africa, Mr Hossam Kandeel, stated.

In the deal’s first phase, Ericsson will deploy its 5G technology, which includes 5G Radio Access Network and NSA Packet Core, to accelerate the development and digitalisation of key sectors such as education, healthcare and manufacturing.

It will also empower consumers and enterprises with innovative 5G applications that will unlock the true potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), smart cities and Immersive Communication over  Augmented (AR) and Virtual reality (VR) for millions of new consumers in the country.

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NCC Reaffirms Determination to Close Gender Gap in Tech

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NCC FRSC corporate governance

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reiterated its unwavering commitment to bridging the growing gender-oriented digital divide to accelerate inclusive economic prosperity for all Nigerian citizens.

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Commission, Mr Umar Garba Danbatta, restated this commitment in Lagos at the 2022 Nigerian Women Entrepreneurs and Executives in Tech Summit (WEETS).

He said the promotion of gender equality is a significant component of ICT development, adding that the gender dimensions of ICT manifest in access and use, capacity-building opportunities, employment and potential for empowerment.

Mr Danbatta said that all these dimensions need to be explicitly identified and addressed to leverage technology and communication as powerful catalysts for women’s political, economic, and social empowerment and the promotion of gender equality.

Speaking about the theme of the event, Reskilling Women and Girls to Thrive in the Digital Economy, Mr Danbatta, represented by NCC’s Head, Digital Media Management, Mrs Nafisa Usman Rugga, said the theme resonates deeply with the drive by the federal government to ensure an all-inclusive digital economy that drives the strategic vision plan of the commission.

Mr Danbatta indicated that one of the ways through which the NCC strives to achieve inclusive growth is through increased digital connectivity to all, regardless of gender and other accidental circumstances, and that the agency has continued to play a front-seat role in driving the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030; the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025; and related policies aimed at deepening connectivity for all citizens, thereby bridging digital gender disparity.

“The NCC has put on the front burner the need to expose girls and young women to more opportunities in the digital ecosystem, in line with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) resolution 70, which advocates gender mainstreaming and promotion of gender equality, as well as the empowerment of women through information and communications technology (ICT), and we are fully committed to this,” Mr Danbatta said.

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