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TechPlus 2016: IT Campaigner Calls For bold Action To Expand Africa’s Internet Connectivity

Chairperson of Alliance for Affordable Internet, Dr. Omobola Johnson has stressed that the continent of Africa needs bold actions from all quarters if the challenges of internet connectivity must be tackled effectively. She made these assertions while delivering her speech last Friday at the opening ceremony of Techplus 2016 held at Eko Hotel, Victoria  Island, Lagos.
Johnson, leads an alliance of World Wide Web Foundation comprising more than 80 members from the civil society, the public and private sectors. The initiative has a vision to ensure that everyone, everywhere can afford a fast, reliable Internet connection.
While delivering her opening remarks at Africa’s biggest technology conference, Dr. Johnson, noted that although the United Nations has set a new global goal: universal, affordable Internet access for all by the year 2020, the reality is that Africa still has a long way to go to achieve this goal.  According to her, “Across our continent, just 1 in 5 people is online today. What’s more, growth is slowing and recent statistics from the NCC have shown that over the past year, Internet use in Africa grew by just 1.8%. At this rate, it will take decades for Africa to reach the Internet usage levels currently seen in Europe. A recent report by the Alliance for Affordable Internet shows that at current trends, we won’t achieve universal internet access until the year 2042 — over 20 years beyond the target date set by the UN”.
According to her, the way out of this situation is for Africa to promote tech advancement, invest in quality education for youth, continuous skills training for workers and  for all stakeholders to understand the importance of the continuous IT revolution.
She also added that technology has now become a key driver to development, because technological revolutions underpin economic advances, improvements in business, health systems, education and infrastructure.  Her words, “The technological revolutions of the 21st century are emerging from entirely new sectors, based on micro-processors, tele-communications, bio-technology and nano-technology. The most remarkable breakthroughs will come from the interaction of insights and applications arising when these technologies converge”.

Also speaking at the event Lagos State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Olufemi Odubiyi noted that access and application of technology has become quite critical in today’s society. He stressed that service and technology are the differentiators between countries that are able to tackle poverty effectively by growing and developing their economies, and those that can’t.
The commissioner who was represented by Mr. Jide Adenuga, Director of Computer Service in the State said, the extent to which developing economies emerge as economic powerhouses depends on their ability to grasp and apply insights from science and technology and use them creatively.
Mr. Tunji Adeyinka, Managing Director of Connect Marketing – organizers of the conference – commented that, TechPlus has come at the right time to tap into the buzz surrounding technology in the country. His words; “We see our platform as a catalyst which will bring together the entire ecosystem together. When we started we were looking to create a platform that would allow companies, individuals and businesses in the tech space to bring together customers, clients and for all players to showcase their products and services. Before now, we had lots of talk shops, but this event is meant to be a practical opportunity to talk about technology and feel the impact that technology has on different parts of life both from a business perspective and from a consumer perspective.”
The theme for this year’s event is ‘A Connected World’. This couldn’t have come at a more auspicious time as Cisco had predicted there will be 20.8 billion connected devices by 2020. TechPlus seeks to highlight the increasing connecting nature of the world and identify Nigeria’s role in this new global reality through a variety of different ‘tracks’
From government’s increasing commitment to the development of the ICT sector, to the rapid emergence of innovation hubs and incubators across the country, it is clear that technology is on the brink of revolutionizing the country and  TechPlus is gravitating towards becoming  a key part of this dialogue.

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