The UK Government’s Prosperity Fund’s Digital Access Programme and Greenfields Law, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), are set to host a Technical Conference on Bridging the Digital divide for Underserved or Unserved Communities and Persons Living with Disabilities in a COVID-19 Context in Nigeria.
The virtual conference which is scheduled to hold on 11 March 2021 will feature a presentation to the stakeholders of findings and recommendations from the diagnostic study on the impact of the Digital Divide on underserved or unserved communities and persons living with disabilities during the persisting Covid-19 pandemic, which was commissioned under the UK Government Prosperity Fund’s Digital Access Programme and undertaken by Greenfields Law.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami; the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta; The British Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewellyn-Jones; State Governors, Local Government Officials and chief executive officers of telecommunications companies, civil society organizations and consumers are among the stakeholders expected to participate at the technical conference.
According to the Managing Counsel of Greenfields Law, Osondu Nwokoro and a leading telecommunications policy, law and regulation practitioner, “the study was guided by extant national and international constitutional, legal, policy and regulatory provisions. Valuable information was garnered from women and girls, unemployed youth, persons living with disabilities in urban, peri-urban and rural areas from all the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, civil society organizations, telecommunications service providers, the regulators and policy making agencies of government at various levels.”
From this process, Nwokoro said, the information gathered was utilized to develop pragmatic Nigeria-specific solutions towards bridging the digital gap between the underserved/unserved communities and PLWDs and other vulnerable segments of the society and to facilitate their digital inclusion during this period of the COVID-19 pandemic which has significantly irreversibly altered the usual mode of socio-economic engagements.
The overarching essence of the study, he also said, was to aid the attainment of the aspirations of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, 2019 and the National Broadband Plan, 2020-2025.
Nwokoro also thanked the UK Government for continuing to play a key role in supporting Nigeria’s digital sector and inclusive economic growth and sustainability.