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Nigeria included in United Kingdom’s seven-year digital strategy

The United Kingdom government has revealed plans to work with Nigeria and some other selected countries through its new Digital Development Strategy (DDS) 2024-2030, launched on March 18, 2024.

The DDS, which is an inclusive, responsible, and sustainable digital future, aims to support digital transformation that accelerates development and manages emerging risks for the next seven years.

This was revealed in Lagos yesterday at a workshop organised by the British High Commission, Lagos.

Speaking, the Digital Access Programme Adviser and Country Lead, Idongesit Udoh, said through the DDS 2024 to 2030, the target has been to achieve four interconnected objectives in Nigeria, including digital transformation by catalysing the economy, government, and society through digital technologies; digital inclusion by Udoh said by 2030, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) would have supported at least 20 partner countries including Nigeria to reduce their digital divides by an average of 50 per cent (helping to halve their connectivity gap).ensuring that no-one is left behind in a digital world; digital responsibility by enabling a safe, secure, and resilient digital environment and digital sustainability, targeted at harnessing digital technologies in support of climate change and environmental aims.

Udoh said the DDS would deliver on four top priorities in Nigeria, through a combination of policy and programming work.

According to him, this will include last-mile connectivity, digital public infrastructure (DPI); Artificial Intelligence (AI) and women and girls.

He explained that the last mile connectivity would ensure basic connectivity in remote, low-income areas are fundamental to ensuring that the most marginalised can benefit from digital technologies.

On the DPI, he said this is the technical term for society-wide digital services, such as e-government and national payment systems, and is a key enabler for the digital transformation of both government and the private sector.

Udoh expected that by 2030, the FCDO would have supported at least 20 partner countries including Nigeria to transform the delivery of digital services at a national level through improved.

Speaking on AI, the country lead said the rapid evolution of AI presents both opportunities and risks, some countries more so than others that risk being left behind due to their weaker digital foundations.

“By 2030, the FCDO will have created or scaled up at least 8 responsible AI research labs at African universities and helped create regulatory frameworks for responsible AI including in Nigeria,” he noted.

On women and girls, Udoh observed that the gender digital divide limits women and girls’ ability to benefit from digital development. He said in seven years the FCDO will have supported at least 50 million women and girls to participate safely and meaningfully in the digital world including women and girls in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, launched in 2019 and a part of the International Tech Hub Network, which is delivered by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and the FCDO under the UK Government’s DAP, has supported 168 tech-enabled SMEs, early-stage startups, and engaged with 55 investors.

According to them, in the next three years, the focus would be to strengthen the capacity within the ecosystem; self-regulate and contribute to the development of policy for the ecosystem; aid economic growth by continuing to support tech startups to grow despite the slowing of investment to the continent; expand the talent bucket by increasing the number of intermediate to the advanced talent available to the ecosystem and promote ecosystem coordination and stimulate sustainable communities through strong local digital ecosystems.