Stakeholders discuss the future of digital access, inclusion at PIC dialogue

Eberechukwu Etike
Stakeholders discuss the future of digital access, inclusivity and transformation in Nigeria.
L-R: Engr. Saheed Balogun, Faisal Naru (Executive Director of PIC), Dr Osasuyi Dirisu (Deputy Director of PIC), Guy Harrison (FCDO Rep),.

The Policy Innovation Centre (PIC), an initiative of the Nigerian Economy Summit Group (NESG) has hosted the second edition of the Stakeholders’ Formative Dialogue for Digital Transformation Programme in Lagos.

The event provided a platform for stakeholders from both the private and public sectors to discuss the issues confronting the country as it embarks on its digital transformation journey.

Some of the major topics discussed at the event include digital economy growth, inclusive digital transformation, security, digital ecosystem sustainability measures and the development and implementation of effective policies. infrastructure access, and local and foreign investments strategies.

Speaking on the purpose of the event, Dr Osasuyi Dirisu, Deputy Director of PIC said that the dialogue is important to the health of the ecosystem especially now when Nigeria is at a decisive point:

We cannot achieve digital inclusion and transformation if we do not come and put our heads together, gather the resources and collaborate effectively to ensure that we do this.

Dr Osasuyi Dirisu

The Digital Access Programme event was held in collaboration with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), an organisation whose goal it is to provide secure digital access to underserved communities in underdeveloped countries such as Nigeria.

Read Also: Lagos ranks 65th in the 2022 top 100 emerging ecosystems

Stakeholders discuss the future of digital access, inclusivity and transformation in Nigeria

Guy Harrison, a representative of the FCDO and an Economic Advisor to the UK government, discussed the significant growth and impact of Nigeria’s ICT sector. According to him, this event is a great opportunity to forge a partnership between the private and public sectors to create a better ecosystem for the ICT industry.

The Keynote Speakers’ Presentation

Engineer Saheed Balogun, S.A to the Governor on Science & Tech in Lagos, gave the first keynote address on Policy and Development Regulation for the Digital Economy. In his presentation, he mentioned that the Lagos state is working on improving broadband penetration through fibre duct access.

He also stated that the state government is willing to work with the private sector to achieve the collective digital transformational goal.

Joel Ogunsola, CEO of Prunedge, delivered the second Keynote speech addressing the Importance of Private Sector Players in Creating a Sustainable Digital Economy. He emphasized that digital innovation, financial services, infrastructure, and fibre optical services are foundational elements of a digital economic system.

He noted that a collaboration with the private sector can help achieve this goal, as issues such as low electrification rates and electricity distribution issues cannot be solved by the private sector alone.

Stakeholders discuss the future of digital access, inclusivity and transformation in Nigeria
Stakeholders discuss the future of digital access, inclusivity and transformation in Nigeria

Oladiwura Oladepo, Co-founder and Executive Director of Tech4DeV, delivered the third keynote speech on Leveraging Gender and Inclusion for Digital Economic Growth in Nigeria. She explained that the future of Africa’s digital economy must be inclusive regardless of gender, disability, race, or religion,

Read Also: NITDA, LASG partners GITEX to host pitch tournament for Lagos-based startups

Conclusion

The workshop featured a debate session where stakeholders discussed related topics. They agreed that there is a need for improved participation of tech-savvy youths in the public sectors, as well as community outreaches.

Similarly, they agreed that there is a need for a collaboration between the government and private sector operators to expand internet access. The value chains for digital transformation are driven by the private sector. But, the government provides the regulatory structure and policies that drive investments and scale transformation.

There is also a need to create a healthy legal framework to encourage foreign investors, as well as the appropriate policies and regulations to entice local investors, and perhaps reduce bureaucracies and dependency on the dollar.

Faisal Naru, Executive Director of PIC, delivered the closing remarks. He expressed his delight at the event’s success and expressed hope for a synergy between the public and private sector players,


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