Digital Inclusion: UK, Nigeria agree to advance RoW reforms



Nigeria and the British government have partnered to advance and regulate reforms on telecommunications infrastructure right of Way (RoW) in the country.


The partnered which was sealed at the first Nigeria Technical Conference on the Right of Way (RoW) virtual forum yesterday, will see the Britain through its Prosperity Fund’s Digital Access Programme, take the next step in its pledge to support and promote inclusive and sustainable digital access to unserved and underserved communities in Nigeria.


In collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the Digital Access Programme, the RoW forum further aggregated views from key stakeholders, towards the advancement of policy and regulatory reforms on RoW and Issuance of Planning permits for Mast and Towers.


The virtual forum is one of the key deliverable of the UK’s Technical Assistance project on RoW, which was initiated in April 2020 to assess the existing strategy, charging regime and measure that against economic development indicators.


Funded and overseen by the Digital Access Programme, Greenfields Law, a leading telecom policy, law and regulation firm in Nigeria had engaged with key stakeholders and proposed effective solutions based on the evidence gathered, while taking into account international best practice.


Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isah Ali Ibrahim Pantami in his keynote address, thanked the UK government for supporting the Nigeria Digital Economy agenda. “RoW reforms is the key to unlocking Nigeria’s digital economy for inclusive digital growth and we have worked with the Nigerian Governors Forum to achieve some important results already. We will continue to champion this reforms on RoW and work on the challenges identified by the technical study,” he said.


Delivering the opening remarks, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing said: “The UK is keen to support the promotion of affordable, inclusive, safe and secure digital access for underserved or excluded populations, and this conference is a significant step to discuss the technical findings of our preliminary study, outcomes, lingering challenges and the way forward.


“I hope that today’s deliberation will culminate into an increased digital inclusion as a basis for a more thriving local tech ecosystem, generating skilled jobs and innovative solutions for local development challenges.”

The executive vice chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission, Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, represented by the executive commissioner, Stakeholder Management, Mr. Adeleke Adewolu said “The Technical Assistance on RoW reforms will assist in our quest for deepening broadband penetration in Nigeria. NCC is willing and ready to advance the reforms noted in the technical study and will collaborate with stakeholders to effect it in the short, medium and long term.”


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