Calls for Nigerian Digital Policy follow Global Drive

Calls from Nigerian industry stakeholders to Communications and Digital Economy Minister, Dr Isa Pantami, to come up with a digital strategy that would drive the Nigerian knowledge economy and create wealth for the citizenry follow similar efforts in the global market place where chief executives of the largest operator groups in the European Union are calling for a consistent digital industrial policy alongside measures to reduce the cost of deploying fixed and mobile networks.

A statement published by the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) and signed by the executives, outlined four focus areas to ensure optimal use of digital communications networks to drive industrial and societal change.

The executives called for a strategy backed by politicians, industrial leaders and other organisations within the economic bloc.

Measures proposed include a united industrial policy  to help the region’s businesses compete on the global stage; measures enabling “European innovation” in data for IoT and AI; rules to lower the cost of deploying network infrastructure; and moves to address fragmentation in the telecommunications market.

The group said its aims would help meet wider goals outlined by new European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in a speech outlining the priorities for her premiership last week (27 November). She formally took the role on 1 December.

CEOs backing the document include Timotheus Hottges (Deutsche Telekom); Nick Read (Vodafone Group); Stephane Richard (Orange); Jose Maria Alvarez Pallete (Telefonica); and Sigve Brekke (Telenor).

Last month, the Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) made up of over 14 leading industry operators called on Pantami to develop a Digital Economy Strategy in consultation with the National Economic Council.

It wants the minister to set up policies that facilitate the Digital Economy, review and redefine sector policy objectives, embrace concept of ‘connected verticals’, facilitate ‘social overhead capital’ role – industry as a socio-economic development partner and provide security for assets and investments.

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