As the weeklong 2022 edition of AfricaNXT opened today at the Landmark Event Centre, 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 connectivity.
There was a groundswell of opinion that improved connectivity has enhanced individual and corporate activities that are bolstering socio-economic development in Nigeria.
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.
At a panel discussion, titled: “Bridging the African Digital Economy Gap,” discussants 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.
Also, at a 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.
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.
Already, 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 to take place on Thursday, March 3, 2022.
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 NCC 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.
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.
As at December 2021, active mobile Internet subscriptions reached over 141 million; active mobile (voice) subscriptions stood at 195.4 million, broadband penetration has reached 40.88 per cent while digital economy access gaps identified by the Commission are being drastically reduced to ensure saturated Internet connectivity across the country.
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.
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 actualize 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 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 will be told in the next 10 years. 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.
Furthermore, the extant NDEPS, the 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.