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[June 24, 2014]
Digital Divide Projects Digital Spread - Olufuye
(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Immediate past President of Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Dr Jimson Olufuye, says the much trumped digital divide may have given way to digital spread.
This, he said, is because existing Information Technology (IT) innovation and methodologies are enabling digital advantage to those that embrace those technologies thereby projecting a digital spread.
Olufuye who is also the Chair of Africa Information and Communication Technologies Alliance (AfICTA), stated this at the just concluded 17th session of the United Nations Commission for Science and Technology for Development (CSTD), held in Geneva, Switzerland.
At the forum where the Minister of Communication Technology and Supervising Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr Omobola Johnson was elected as the Chairperson of CSTD.
The former ITAN boss in his presentation during the session on ICT for Development (ICT4D) underscored the significant role ICTs have played since the outcomes of the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) 2005 to enable a more inclusive social, economic and even political development of all people.
"The much trumped Digital Divide may have given way to Digital Spread where existing ICTs know-how, innovation and methodologies are enabling digital advantage to those that embrace these technologies" thereby projecting a digital spread" he explained.
According to him, "where a nation is low in any particular development indices is not because the solution is not available but their unwillingness to embrace such solutions".
He cited the example of the success of mobile money in Kenya (M-Pesa) which drew global acclaim but yet see slow adoption elsewhere probably due to a digital peace of mind with payment solution. Similar mobile based solutions are emerging in developing countries.
He indicated that the concept of a digital peace of mind is not unconnected with a user's choice of technology to enable his/her sufficient inclusion in the information society but noted that, "more still need to be done to connect the next three billion people to the Internet".
He also cited the on-going National Broadband Plan implementation in Nigeria and the Rwanda nationwide 4G infrastructural roll-out as examples of what are possible.
While the CSTD charged by the United Nations to report on the implementation of the WSIS Outcomes prepares its report for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2015, he recommended that ICTs should be recognised in their report as the key enabler of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda.
Copyright Daily Independent. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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