Participants Acknowledge The Impact Of Policy And Regulation On Digital Connectivity.

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……..Focus On Digital Connectivity For The Future Of Work, Business Growth, And Content Development

As the week-long 2022 edition of AfricaNXT kicked off today at the Landmark Event Centre in Lagos, panellists and other attendees praised the Federal Government’s policy and regulatory efforts, led by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in fostering improved connectivity.

There has been a growing consensus that increased connection has boosted individual and business activity in Nigeria, boosting socio-economic development.

Digital connectivity is playing and will continue to play a vital role in influencing the future of employment and the development of commercial operations in the country, according to the panellists.

At a panel discussion, titled: “Bridging the African Digital Economy Gap,” discussants examined, in great depth and perspectives, how the 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”, panellists emphasised the transformational role digital connectivity is playing in bringing about an efficient work environment, virtual collaboration at the workplace, 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 at 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 of 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 the deployment of emerging technologies from the First Generation (1G), to 2G, 3G and 4G-LTE, and is vigorously driving the deployment of the 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 the 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 the cost of broadband services, and improving digital literacy and skills. These initiatives, participants reckoned, have transformed businesses with a multiplier effect on Nigeria’s GDP in which the telecom sector contributes more than 12 per cent.

Earlier, at the first business session hosted by The Guardian newspaper, held after the opening of the 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 the 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 Network for Digital Nigeria, are expected to combine to shape the nature of and significance of content generation, processing and dissemination in Africa.

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