The Federal Government has asked the African Development Bank (AfDB) to intervene in building the trans-Saharan optic fiber backbone/national broadband backbone and develop ground station for Nigeria Communication Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) and other critical ICT infrastructure in the country.
This, it said, is to ensure active participation in the fourth industrial revolution, otherwise known as Industry 4.0.
Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, made the call during a meeting between AfDB Group team led by its Government Relations Coordinator, Linda Amadi, and officials of the Ministry in Abuja.
The meeting aimed at identifying the real reasons certain technologies could not be adopted in Africa and recommend development strategy for African governments, the private sector and development partners, including AFDB.
Shittu, in a statement in Lagos, yesterday, explained that the trans-Saharan optic fiber backbone would ensure effective broadband penetration in not only the rural areas in Nigeria, but also across the African continent.
Besides, subscriber statistics for the month of February released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that about 342,101 telephone lines became inactive within the period under review, as telephone subscriptions fell from 174 million in January to 173.7 million in February.
Shittu enjoined the AfDB to assist in implementation of the National Addressing System (NAS) activities such as procuring the needed cadastral-based map at the scale of 1:5000 and 1:10000, engage a notable software developer to build NAS data ecosystem infrastructure and integrated software/associated applications.
"Securing intervention from the AfDB on certain critical ICT infrastructure, including the development of R&D centres, ICT parks and ICT village among others, were crucial for launching the country and Africa into the fourth industrial revolution where Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, Virtual Reality (VR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be realised to change the way people live and work," he stressed.
Speaking, AFDB's Senior Consultant from techno polis Group, Stephen Krevrer, said the delegation would conduct field studies to seek detailed information to understand which technology has the potential to impact the economy and society at large.
He noted that AI, Block Chain, 3D printing, Drones and IoTs, are the five key areas AFDB seeks to uncover their potentials to impact positively on education, health care, transportation, manufacturing and agricultural sectors to transform the African economy.
The AfDB had selected Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon, Morocco and Uganda for a case study on unlocking the potential for the fourth industrial revolution in Africa and to collate detailed information, which will enable them to understand technologies that have potentials and ascertain preconditions for their adoption.