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Nigeria Advocates For Open, Secure Internet To Foster Innovation, Digital Growth

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The Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani.
The Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani.

The Nigerian government has expressed its commitment to fostering an open and secure Internet across Africa, with the aim of bridging the digital divide and creating innovative opportunities on the continent.

Making this point at the recently concluded Africa Internet Governance Forum (AfIGF) held at the Transcorp Hilton in Abuja, the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani emphasised the administration’s dedication to international collaborations and dialogues to achieve these objectives.

Tijani, who addressed the forum virtually, highlighted Nigeria’s status as the largest telecommunications market in Africa and its keen awareness of emerging technologies related to Internet usage. He reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to working closely with African countries to ensure effective governance of the Internet, unlocking its vast resources for the growth and well-being of both citizens and nations.

Tijani underscored the importance of collective efforts in shaping the future of the Internet in Africa. He encouraged stakeholders to prioritise collaborative approaches in crafting policies and strategies that reflect Africa’s shared values, aspirations, and diversity.

The minister expressed his appreciation to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and other agencies that formed the local organising committee (LOG) for the 2023 AfIGF. He commended their effective planning and dedication to advancing Africa’s digital future.

The executive vice-chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta also played a pivotal role in the event. He shared insights into NCC’s commitment to ensuring a secure Internet ecosystem in Nigeria through regulatory initiatives. Danbatta highlighted Nigeria’s substantial growth in broadband penetration, basic Internet usage, voice subscriptions, and contributions to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

As Nigeria hosted this year’s AfIGF, Danbatta emphasised the country’s focus on sharing experiences and collaborating with other African nations to promote socio-economic development through proper Internet resource utilisation.

The chief of innovation and technology at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Dr. Mactar Seck expressed gratitude to NCC and all government entities for their support in making the event a success. He stressed the importance of AfIGF in enabling African nations to consolidate their views and collectively advocate for greater benefits in economic development.

Secretary of the African Parliamentary Network on Internet Governance and Ghana’s Honourable Samuel George called for a free Internet that is inclusive, safe and secure for all African citizens. He emphasised the need for collaboration to create an enabling environment, enact appropriate laws and provide digital infrastructure to support young innovators, ultimately promoting indigenous technological development.

The theme of this year’s AfIGF was “Transforming Africa’s Digital Landscape: Empowering Inclusion, Security and Innovation.” The event provided a platform for African countries to discuss critical issues that will contribute to the development of a more robust digital economy on the continent.

Following the event, a communique was issued outlining resolutions and recommendations. Danbatta encouraged participants to ensure the effective implementation of these recommendations when they return to their respective countries, in preparation for next year’s forum.

Before the AfIGF, the 11th Africa School of Internet Governance (AfriSIG) took place from September 13 to 18, 2023. It was facilitated by various organisations, including the Association for Progressive Communications, the African Union, Research ICT Africa, the Africa Parliamentary Track, the United Nations-IGF Secretariat and the Africa Youth IGF. This pre-event focused on capacity-building and education related to Internet governance in Africa.

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