The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) and experts in the Nigerian tech space have called for the implementation of policies to improve digital literacy and reduce the digital skills gap in the country.
Experts spoke at the “Inclusive Digital Transformation Agenda” in Lagos to advance inclusive digital development through an improved policy and regulatory framework for the Nigerian economy.
The event brought together members of public sector MDAs, ICT professional bodies, digital inclusion start-ups and stakeholders in the digital space.
Guy Harrison, Economic Advisor to the Deputy High Commissioner in Lagos, said the aim of the event was to create a sense of support and partnership between the public and private sectors to create a framework capable of delivering the right regulations. and to provide guarantees that encourage the private sector to contribute more to the Nigerian economy.
Harrison noted that Nigeria has the potential to experience rapid growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through the development of human capital in the field of information technology and bridging the digital literacy gap.
He said a review of existing digital frameworks can accelerate partnership opportunities between businesses in Nigeria and the UK.
“We have already taken a group of Nigerian companies to the UK in April from a matchmaking mission,” Harrison said. “We very much hope that this will create a virtual circle of good governance, good regulations and a framework that will be great for Nigerians and businesses.”
Faisal Naru, Executive Director of the Policy Innovation Center (PIC), said that the policies implemented by government must be appropriate for there to be an enabling and conducive environment for people and businesses to thrive.
“It’s important to have this kind of dialogue to make sure the right policies are in place and things are working well for businesses,” Naru said.
“I expect in this conversation for us, first of all, to bring different actors to start talking together, who may not have spoken before at the federal level, at the state level, at the private sector, at the donors, investors, banks It is important for them to talk together to understand what each other is going through and then co-create solutions that will actually work for Nigerians and for the betterment of the Nigerian economy .
Idongesit Udoh, UK digital access program manager, noted that millions of people in rural communities are being left behind in broadband connectivity, adding that efforts need to be stepped up to reach these people.
Udoh said Britain’s Access Scheme is working to help around 60% of Nigerians without digital skills acquire one to function in the digital economy.
He said the UK was partnering with key stakeholders to build digital skills capacity for women and girls, people with disabilities and those without basic digital skills.