L-R: Country Manager and Managing Director, LM Ericsson Nigeria Limited, Peter Ogundele; Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta; Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria-Ghana and Cameroon, Annika Hahn; Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska and Director, Special Duties, NCC, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde at the workshop engagement for regulators in the West African region organized by Ericsson and Swedish Programme for ICT in Developing and Emerging Regions (SPIDER) at the NCC’s Annex Office, Mbora, Abuja.
The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has commended the Swedish Government and Ericsson for their commitment and consistency in a strategic partnership with NCC on capacity building which has strengthened the Commission’s regulatory activities.
Speaking at a workshop jointly organised by NCC and its Swedish partners within the framework of the Swedish Programme for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in Developing and Emerging Regions (SPIDER), Danbatta stressed the significant strides made by NCC in the field of ICT.
“This workshop signposts the vital role the Nigerian Communications Commission, as a regulator, has been playing in the West African sub-region. It also highlights the unending objective of keeping up with the times and ever-evolving dynamics of the telecommunications sector,” Danbatta stated.
The NCC Chief Executive reiterated the enduring commitment of the Swedish Government and SPIDER to the cause of ICT development in emerging regions and acknowledged their roles in improving access to healthcare, education, income generation, and employment opportunities in West Africa, thereby contributing to poverty reduction.
“This periodic strategic engagement under the auspices of SPIDER over the years has made the Commission a more effective regulator and enhanced it contribution to the development of the telecommunications sector. This contribution will further support the creation of an ecosystem that is beneficial to the economies and people of the region,” the EVC said.
In her speech, the Swedish Ambassador to Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroun, and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mrs. Annika Hahn, highlighted the significance of ICT regulation and capacity building as key drivers for economic development and social progress.
The ambassador also commended the NCC for hosting the event and fostering collaboration between the two nations. She acknowledged the pivotal role ICT has played in Sweden’s economic growth being the birthplace of Ericsson, one of the world’s oldest and largest ICT companies, with a rich history in the sector.
Speaking further, the ambassador stressed the global technological revolution and its potential to catalyse industrial and economic development. She stressed the need for modern and adaptable regulation to navigate this rapidly-evolving landscape.
Hahn also stated that, “to cope with this new and swiftly-developing environment, we need to regulate in a modern and adaptable way. Therefore, human capacity building in ICT regulation is crucial for all of us.”
The diplomat said the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of ICT across the globe, leading to an increase in Internet users as the shift impacted various sectors, including education, commerce, and financial services. She also said that e-learning practices on various platforms played a significant role in the transformation.
Speaking further, the Ambassador said Ericsson has reported that there were more than 900 million registered mobile subscriptions in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022, with a considerable portion of those in Nigeria.
The Swedish ambassador said that, in driving growth and contributing to the ambitious goal of over a billion mobile subscriptions by the end of 2023 within Sub-Saharan Africa, “education must be an essential part of our regulatory development strategies and policies, hence the need for collaboration in knowledge-sharing and up-skilling of human resources by all stakeholders.”