Digital inclusion: Association calls for more relevant online contents

Na'ankwat Dariem, Abuja

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The Global System for Mobile communication Association, GSMA has called for more relevant online contents to promote digital inclusion in Nigeria.

The Head of Africa, GSMA, Mr Akinwale Goodluck who made the call when he spoke at a Huawei online media interview with Journalists from across Africa noted that more people could be compelled to come online if relevant content were available.

“Finding relevant content that will be compelling enough for people to come online is one of the greatest barriers to digital inclusion. They need to get content that adds value and is socially relevant for them to come online.

“This can be achieved through collaboration between the government and mobile network operators. I believe that if the content is right, profitable, rewarding and people see value in it, more people will come online,” he said.

According to him, GSMA Intelligence has discovered that infrastructure and availability of locally relevant content led to the highest improvements in Internet adoption between 2017 and 2018 on the back of significant investments in 3G and 4G network expansion.

He noted that the Nigerian government and stakeholders in the industry had set out plans to bridge the gap by waivers of duties with a target of getting smartphones to Nigerians at below $25 by the year 2025.

“Effective utilisation of broadband services requires the use of capable devices such as smartphone, tablets, PCs etc. The cost of these devices is typically higher than what a large segment of the population can afford,”

“The Nigerian National Broadband Plan for 2020 to 2025 also recognised that low usage and adoption of Internet services could be caused by the high cost of services and access devices, low digital literacy, lack of local and relevant content and poor perception of broadband value, amongst others.

“They said adequate digital literacy programmes should be embarked upon to enlighten every Nigerian on the relevance of broadband to their lives and day-to-day activities”

“For many, the only access they have to the Internet is through their mobile devices as seen in a GSMA study which showed that most of the growing Internet users, especially from the fast-growing markets were from mobile devices only with no access to personal computers” he explained.

While acknowledging that broadband infrastructure was another challenge, Goodluck said many African governments were mitigating this challenge as there had been an organic expansion of broadband infrastructure and network sharing in rural areas.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Goodluck said there would be increased investments in e-commerce, cash-transactions driven by mobile money and powered by telcos saying that many organisations will come up with app-only solutions that can be accessed via mobile devices.

He added that there was a huge expansion of the app and digital content economy to non-English speaking markets and video streaming companies like Netflix Streaming was at the forefront of this trend, as it launched a mobile-only tariff in India.

Peace PIAK