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Jonathan Tasks African Nations To Be Active In ICT Revolution

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan


Niyi Adeyi

President Goodluck Jonathan has called on all African countries to be more active in the ongoing global digital revolution.

Jonathan made the call Tuesday in Ndjamena, the Chadian capital, while addresing international conference on information and communications technology. Mr. President observed that due to the strong correlation between the efficient deployment of ICTs and socio-economic development, Nigeria and other African countries stood to gain so much from the effective adoption of the new technologies.

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, Jonathan said: “Africa and Africans must be active participants in the digital revolution that is taking place all around the world.  We must in fact be at the forefront of that revolution, creating information societies and knowledge based economies”.

“African governments must facilitate and support the deployment of the necessary ICT infrastructure required to connect our citizens to each other and the rest of the world, we need to educate our citizens on ICTs and make them digitally literate so they can actively participate in this revolution, we need to encourage the development of our local ICT industries, creating companies to drive added domestic economic value, create jobs and support sustainable growth in GDP,” the President told the gathering hosted by Chadian President, Idriss Deby.

The President stated to ensure that the country derive the full benefits of new information and communication technologies  which he mentioned included improving national commerce, the development of an ICT workforce, creation of high skilled, high paying jobs, improved international competitiveness and  the establishment of stronger, more competitive small and medium businesses, the Federal Government was judiciously  implementing a National ICT Policy, National Broadband Strategy and Roadmap as well as the Guidelines for Nigerian Content in the ICT industry.

“The results of our efforts in this regard include an ICT sector that is 19 per cent of our Services sector which in itself is 54 per cent of total GDP. In addition to this,  the ICT sector has an enabling effect on other sectors of the economy contributing a further 2.56 per cent of added value,” President Jonathan said.

In addition to encouraging and facilitating the development of ICTs in Nigeria, Jonathan indicated that his administration was also helping to increase the geographic spread of high capacity broadband networks to support the harmonious and integrated development of regional economies in Africa.

“With over 10 terabytes of undersea cable landing on our shores we are, through the bi-lateral Nigeria Niger Joint Commission extending that capacity to Niger and we are in the process of entering into an MoU with the Chadian Government to interconnect the optic fibre networks of Chad and Nigeria,” the President revealed.

President Jonathan commended President Deby for hosting the conference, especially as ICT and the internet he disclosed have clearly become catalysts that could expand the scope and scale of socio-economic development.

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