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Nigeria to team up with UK on broadband arrangement, 1 year after past one terminates

Nigeria has officially signed a Letter of Intent with the British government to develop a six-year National Broadband Development Plan one year after the expiration of the previous plan in 2018.

Representatives of the newly established Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy signed the agreement with the Prosperity Fund’s Digital Access Programme at the headquarters of the Nigerian ministry.

According to the head of the UK government’s Digital Access Programme, Idongesit Udoh,

“The new broadband plan is expected to raise the broadband penetration level in Nigeria [from what it was] to between 65% to 66% over the next six years.”

At this stage, the project is expected to focus on activities bringing technical expertise and other stakeholders together to develop and draft a robust broadband plan for the Nigerian economy.

The project to develop this plan is expected to end by March 2020.

On why the British government has decided to collaborate with Nigeria on this, the country’s Deputy High Commissioner, Harriet Thompsonstated that,

“This project contributes to the UK government’s Prosperity Fund objective of promoting inclusive, affordable, accessible, safe, and secure Internet access for the socio-economic development of underserved communities in Nigeria.”

It is unclear why the Nigerian government waited this long to make plans to draft a new broadband plan for the country. The previous broadband plan for the country expired on the 31st of December, 2018.

However, the UK representatives hope that this partnership will provide national leadership and strategic sectoral direction for Nigeria.