- As ITU regional workshop for Africa holds in Nigeria
By Omobayo Azeez
Isa Patanmi, Nigeria’s minister of communications and digital economy, has praised the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for spearheading regional and global initiatives that further raise the regulatory standard of the telecoms sector in Nigeria.
He said such initiatives have allowed the country to make concrete contributions and inputs on issues bordering on telecoms networks standardisation within the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
Pantami gave the commendation Monday while delivering his welcome address at 7th Study Group 13 (SG 13), an ongoing Regional Workshop for Africa being hosted by the NCC in Abuja.
The four-day programme, focused on the theme: ‘Standardisation of Future Networks Towards Building a Better Connected Africa’, has a dual structure of a workshop by the SG 13 for Africa which commenced from 2-4, February 2020; and another special meeting by the group, scheduled for 5-6, February, 2020.
Addressing participants drawn from Nigeria and other African countries as well as officials of the ITU at the event, the minister said the NCC’s role in being at the forefront of driving digital revolution for Nigeria is well noted.
“I want to appreciate the efforts of the NCC for representing the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMoCDE) to coordinate these activities of the SG 13 of ITU in Nigeria.
“The effort is highly commendable. With all sense of responsibility as the Minister of FMoCDE, I commend your consistency in handling the activities of ITU and other study groups of the FMoCDE. Your efforts are most appreciated,” he said.
Speaking to the theme of the event, Pantami said standards are critical to the interoperability of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
He described the workshop as timely given that the Nigerian government, through the ministry, is making effort to reposition its focus and strategies on how to use new and emerging digital technologies to transform the socio-economic life and activities of the country.
The minister also emphasised the need for Africa to position itself properly to be upbeat on the organising principles of developing appropriate standards for the future and next generation digital networks that support a digital economy ecosystem.
Also at the workshop, Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman (EVC), NCC, stated that discussions and solutions for future networks such as cloud computing, software defined networks and smart cities, cannot be understated.
“To achieve a resilient and robust future network, standards must be developed to accommodate the evolution of new and emerging technologies. The new frontier comes with great value and potentials for humanity and so, Nigeria and indeed, Africa cannot afford to be left behind,” he stated.
Danbatta also tasked participants to come up with far-reaching resolutions, as Africa cannot afford to fail in harnessing the full benefits of the digital culture and the fourth industrial revolution.
He added that such “resolutions will hopefully play a pivotal role at the World Telecommunications Standardization Assembly (WTSA) coming up later in the year.
The NCC boss affirmed that all these developments will also play significant role in achieving the new mandate for the digital economy.
He therefore charged participants to drive collective interest and let such collective interest be their focal point of discussion, “so that we can have networks that can handle the peculiarities of our environment, as we drive towards development and integration of new and emerging technologies on our dear continent”.
Meanwhile, Simeon Bagudu, chairman of the ITU SG 13, said the group was established in 2008 to mobilise effective participation of Africa in the area of ICT standardisation.