NCC Vows to Elevate Digital Inclusion and Cybersecurity at Africa Internet Governance Forum

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The Executive Vice-Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, announced the commission’s unwavering commitment to driving digital inclusion, enhancing cybersecurity, and fostering innovation in Nigeria at the Parliamentarian Africa Internet Governance Forum (AFIGF). The event, hosted by the NCC, featured the theme “Transforming Africa’s Digital Landscape: Empowering Inclusion, Security, and Innovation.”

In his address, Danbatta highlighted the pivotal role of telecommunications in advancing financial inclusion in the country. He emphasized that the Federal Government’s financial inclusion strategy was heavily reliant on the telecommunications sector, leveraging its widespread infrastructure. Notably, Danbatta revealed that mobile money penetration, once a mere 1%, had surged to an impressive 70% following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s granting of licenses to four network operators. He also pointed out the significance of the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code, facilitated by the NCC, in facilitating seamless and efficient banking transactions, thereby reducing the need for physical visits to banks.

The EVC also shed light on NCC’s initiatives aimed at nurturing innovation across all age groups in Nigeria. The commission has been instrumental in providing essential support such as computer systems and Mifi devices to empower individuals of all ages to innovate.

Turning the spotlight on cybersecurity, Danbatta highlighted the existence of the Nigerian Computer Emergency Response Team (NCERT). This vital entity offers critical guidance to telecommunication companies on safeguarding their operations against malicious cyberattacks. Moreover, NCC plays a pivotal role in categorizing the severity of cyber threats, differentiating between malicious, light, and heavy attacks.

Hon. Samuel George, the Secretary General of AFIGF and a member of the Ghanaian Parliament, underlined the need for a unified African approach to cybersecurity. He stressed the importance of harmonizing cybersecurity policies and data-sharing frameworks across the continent. George emphasized that the ratification of conventions and agreements was paramount in combating evolving cyber threats effectively.

Lillian Nalwoga, Chairperson of AFIGF, echoed the call for harmonization and the adoption of comprehensive cybersecurity laws and data protection regulations. She emphasized that such measures were indispensable, not just for safeguarding against cyber threats, but also for protecting citizens’ rights and privacy. Nalwoga highlighted the significance of these laws in shielding individuals from both non-state actors and government surveillance.

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