Gbajabiamila extols impact of ICT in addressing poverty in Africa
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the House of Representatives, has said that the effective deployment of Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools in rural communities would help empower rural dwellers and stimulate increased economic activities in Africa.
He said by having access to adequate and the right information, the poverty level in rural communities in Africa could greatly be reduced.
Speaker Gbajabiamila expressed these views in a paper titled ‘Enhancing Information Communication Technology (ICT) Use in Providing Life-Changing Solutions in Rural Communities’ which he delivered at the ongoing 50th Regional Conference and the Annual General Meeting of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Africa Region, taking place in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
A statement from the Speaker’s office signed by Lanre Lasisi, his media adviser, stated that Gbajabiamila, who led the Nigerian delegation to the conference, moved a motion for the commencement of proceedings and the debate on the second day of the conference, saying policymakers must, through the policy-making and legislative process, ensure that the opportunities created by technological advancements are available to the people.
“Everywhere, from Africa to Europe, Asia to the Americas, policymakers are still trying to figure out this brave new world. It often feels as if the moment we reach an understanding of one paradigm, it changes again to reveal new vistas, new challenges, and opportunities. We cannot, and we do not seek to halt the march of technological progress. “In fact, we embrace it because we have seen how technology properly used can improve the circumstances of human life in every sector from education to health care, security, and commerce,” he said.
On how ICT could address poverty, Gbajabiamila said: “it can play a major role in addressing rural poverty and improving the economic well-being of the people through access to the adequate and right information.
“Rural communities in Nigeria and Africa as a whole are faced with the challenges of infrastructural deficit that would help stimulate development.
“This affects access to adequate and right information by the rural communities. The challenge is how to leverage the bountiful opportunities in the sector to improve service delivery in rural communities.”
In the area of agriculture, the Speaker said the deployment of ICT in the sector would increase efficiency, productivity, and sustainability of small-scale farms.