By Juliet Umeh
The Chief Executive Officer of a data company, MainOne, Funke Opeke, joined other stakeholders to push for broadband penetration beyond Lagos and Abuja for economic prosperity in Nigeria.
Opeke who presented a keynote speech at the Startup South Conference held in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State recently, on the theme “Unlocking the Next 60 Million: Making Broadband Accessible and Affordable,” said broadband connectivity is the bedrock of a thriving digital and national economy and needs to be expanded beyond Lagos and Abuja.
She said: “In this digital age where broadband connectivity is the bedrock of a thriving digital and national economy, we need to focus on increasing access to broadband penetration beyond Lagos and Abuja for our shared economic prosperity, job creation and digital security.
“We will need to take advantage of the opportunities the digital economy provides if we are to create jobs for Nigerian youth in the not-too distant future,” Opeke advocates.
The conference was a four-day event created to inspire a generation of young founders, innovators and youths to build scalable and investable businesses across the South-South and South-East states to accelerate development.
It was initially conceived as a community project, but has evolved into a platform that brings together technology founders, innovators and investors from across Nigeria and beyond to discuss issues focused on deepening broadband access, affordability & youth employment in the South-South/South-East States.
Other high-level stakeholders such as Commissioner of Technology Development Imo State, Nze Meekam Mgbenwelu; Commissioner of Science and Technology Akwa Ibom, Dr Iniobong Essien; Regional Manager, Bank of Industry, Sunkanmi Oriyomi, among others were at the conference.
They also engaged in compelling discourse that highlighted the importance of broadband and digital solutions to economic development, stressing the significance of why states across Nigeria should pay attention to enabling broadband in their regions.
The dialogue centered on the notion that the development of the nation’s digital economy lies on extending affordable broadband and the encouragement of innovation hubs, skill development and job creation.