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Facebook Gets Stakeholders’ Commitment To Partnership For Connectivity

… Plans Grand Office In Nigeria By H2

The need  for technology companies to partner in the bid to grow connectivity in Nigeria has been noted as the path to accelerated development in the country’s quest for economic growth.

This was the focus of a virtual event organised on Thursday by Social Media giant, Facebook, with theme, “Extending Connectivity in Nigeria Through Partnerships”.

Director of Public Policy for Africa for Facebook, Kojo Boakye, while reiterating the importance of the Nigerian market noted that “Facebook is investing in more than infrastructure in Nigeria”. He said the social media company is also investing in human capital and socio-economic development.

He announced that Facebook will, in the second half of the year, open an office in Lagos, Nigeria. The office, he stated, will be the second Facebook office in Africa. “The multi-faceted office will be a key part of Lagos landscape.”

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar  Garba Danbatta in his address at the Webinar, said that Federal Government’s efforts at connectivity, license issuance and Broadband infrastructure development are all geared towards the implementation of the digital economic agenda.

According to him, the new 5-year Strategic Management Plan (SMP) which was launched in 2020 is meant to ensure regulatory excellence through stakeholder participation, promoting the development of digital economy through digital transformation of  governance and key service sectors in the economy, and collaborations with private sector organisations.

The EVC, who enthused that the aspirations of the SMP will be surpassed before its lifespan which is in 2025, charged global technology companies such as Facebook and Google, to localise their traffic, and called for at least 50% of local traffic routing, and expansion of multiple fibre links of the Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria (IXPN).

While pointing out that by population, Nigeria still has one of the highest number of unconnected population, Prof. Danbatta revealed that rural technology solutions have been successfully tested in some select areas, and will be deployed in larger scale due to the impressive outcome of the test.

In his submission, CEO of Airtel Nigeria, Olusegun Ogunsanya pointed out that partnership is very beneficial in growing economies. “We must support our various communities; that is the price we have to pay as telcos and technology companies.”

During the panel session which centered on leveraging connectivity to drive innovation, and anchored by Facebooks Product & Partnership Lead for Middle East & Africa, Proud Dzambukira, Co-Founder/CEO of Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB), Bosun Tijani charged government partner with the private sector in order to overcome the challenge of connectivity. Nigeria enterpreneurs, he said, don’t see barriers, which is why connectivity is not thought to be a barrier, but a hurdle that can be surpassed with Private Public Partnership (PPP).

Other panellists, Founder, Imisi 3D, Judith Okonkwo and Founder/General Partner, Future Africa, Iyinoluwa ‘E’ Aboyeji also spoke on the need to reduce the cost of connectivity to accelerate growth, and the need for connectivity in the VR, AR and ER world..

Aboyeji  concluded: “Reducing the cost of connectivity is very important. There is so much fibre capacity lying at the shores of the country, but not really getting in as it should be.”

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