Danbatta Calls for Greater Appreciation of Digital Transformation

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Emma Okonji

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, has said that the role of digital transformation in Nigeria should be appreciated beyond the realm of statistics churned out in the telecommunications sector.

Speaking while delivering the 46th convocation lecture of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the NCC boss also called for more deployment of ICT to facilitate socio-economic development of the country.

“We talk about the benefits of ICT and we normally do this by dishing out e-readiness indicators. We say broadband penetration is 21 per cent, internet penetration 97 per cent. All these are ICT-readiness indicators that do not tell the entire picture.

“We can go beyond that and explain how ICTs have impacted to provide shared and sustainable prosperity; how ICTs have succeeded in reducing poverty; how they improve learning and make the society more open, more mobile and cohesive. And above all, how they encourage the economy to be more competitive and innovative. These are the ends of the digital transformation and not the input output figures we normally reel out,” he said.

Speaking further, Danbatta said: “It is in Nigeria’s national interest to harness potentials that exist in the information driven age through the deployment and exploitation of ICT to facilitate socio-economic development and improvement of the human condition.”

He said developing countries like Nigeria are currently grappling with a broadband divide in addition to infrastructure, knowledge and information divides.

Expressing his displeasure over the country’s slow growth in broadband penetration, Danbatta said: “Of the world’s over five billion broadband subscriptions, North America and European Union control over 50 per cent while South America and Sub-saharan Africa, where Nigeria is account for only 3 per cent of this global share.”