UK urges Nigeria to boost internet access for digital growth

Bisola David
Bisola David
UK urges Nigeria to boost internet access for digital growth

By Melvin Onwubuke

The British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Johny Baxter, has said that In order to grow its Digital Economy, the federal government will have to increase access to fast and affordable internet.

This was disclosed in Lagos, during an event to honour some Nigerians empowering women and young girls with digital skills through the CyberHubs initiative.

He noted that the UK is firmly optimistic in the future growth story of Nigeria’s digital sector, emphasizing the government would also need to create an enabling regulatory environment to make this a reality.

“To continue to drive this growth, Nigeria needs a combination of increased access to safe, affordable, faster, and better-quality internet, an encouraging regulatory environment, a skilled talent pool, and access to investment and partnership opportunities,” he explained.

The Deputy Commissioner expounded, the digital economy can sometimes seem like a place where women and girls do not belong, adding that it is a place where everyone belongs.

He said “It is a place where women and girls can find a sense of belonging, relevance, and empowerment. This is the reason we champion inclusion in STEM, digital, and cyber for women and girls.

“Last year on International Women’s Day, the UK launched a 10-year Women and Girls’ strategy which showcases our commitment to tackling gender inequality across the globe.

“The first 2 cohorts of the Digigirls program saw the training and upskilling of 6,800 women and girls. While that might look like a large number it was only 6.3% of the people that applied for the opportunity to be trained for free.”

“For us, it felt like we needed to do more. We thought about how we could make this project reach more people and have a wider impact yet still be sustainable.

“We then decided to experiment with using local technology hubs to deliver upskilling to women and girls. This would strengthen the hubs as well as provide a physical space where women and girls could learn undisturbed,” he added.

According to him, the experiment has been successful, as 59,900 women and girls have been trained by the Cybersafe Foundation, which it collaborated with.

He added that 200 volunteer alumni DigiGirls, called ‘DigiChampions’ and a partnership with 60 centers in 22 states of Nigeria have been instrumental to achieving this.

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