UK 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.
The experts spoke at the ‘Inclusive Digital Transformation Programme’ in Lagos to promote inclusive digital development through an enhanced policy and regulatory framework for the Nigerian economy.
The event was attended by members of the public sector MDAs, ICT professional associations, digital inclusion start-ups and business players in the digital space.
Guy Harrison, economic adviser to the deputy high commissioner in Lagos, said the aim of the event is to create a sense of support and partnership between the public and the private sector to create a framework that can facilitate the right regulation. and guarantees that the private sectors to contribute more to the Nigerian economy.
Harrison noted that Nigeria has the potential to rapidly grow 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 could accelerate business collaboration opportunities in Nigeria and the UK.
“We already brought a group of Nigerian companies to the UK in April for a matchmaking mission,” said Harrison. “We sincerely hope that this will create a virtual circle of good governance, good regulation and a framework that is great for Nigerians and businesses.”
Faisal Naru, executive director of the Policy Innovation Center (PIC), said the policies implemented by the government must be right to create a good and stimulating 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 companies,” Naru said.
“I expect that in this conversation we will primarily have different actors talking to each other, who may not have spoken before at the federal level, state level, private sectors, donor financiers, investors, banks. It is important for them to talk to each other to understand what each other is going through and then work together to create solutions that will really work for the people of Nigeria and for the well-being of the Nigerian economy.”
Idongesit Udoh, head of the UK Digital Access Programme, noted that millions of people in rural communities are lagging behind in broadband connectivity, adding that more efforts are needed to reach such people.
Udoh said the UK access program is working to help about 60% of Nigerians without digital skills acquire one to function in the digital economy.
He said the UK is working with key stakeholders to build digital skills capacity for women and girls, people with disabilities and those without basic digital skills.