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Akinwumi Adesina canvasses bridging of digital divide

By Sunday Aikulola
29 October 2021   |   4:00 am
President of African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has stressed the need to bridge digital divide to ensure every Nigerian has access to Internet facilities.

African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Adesina. REUTERS/Amit Dave<br />

President of African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has stressed the need to bridge digital divide to ensure every Nigerian has access to Internet facilities.

He said the digital divide must be closed and that every Nigerian should have reliable and affordable Internet access. This, he said, will expand digital financial inclusion and wider use of social media platforms. He noted that social media is here to stay and would continue to influence politics, connect people, and shape the future.

At the 21st NECCI PR Roundtable in Lagos, yesterday, he observed that the number of social media users in Africa is rising rapidly. The estimates for 2021, he said, are that 45 per cent of the population in northern Africa use social media, eight per cent in Central Africa, 10 per cent in eastern Africa, 16 per cent in western Africa, and 41 per cent in southern Africa.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Social Media, National Security and Social Change: Bridging the Gaps for Development in Africa’, he said statistics from the International Finance Corporation revealed that Africa’s Internet economy contributes close to $115 billion or about 4.5 per cent of the continent’s total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and could reach $180 billion, or 5.2 per cent of GDP by 2025.

According to him, the role of leaders is to anticipate the future before it arrives and create an enabling environment with robust infrastructure, right policies, rules and regulations.

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, who joined the conversation via Zoom, said responsible social media use would make a better nation for all.

The convener, Nkechi Ali-Balogun, said rather than ban or censor use of social media, public relations expert must counsel government on its positive impact to counter fake news and threat narratives.