HOW NIGERIA'S RURAL TELEPHONY QUEST CAN LEVERAGE ON WORLD TELECOMS DAY
Penultimate Sunday, this year's world telecommunications day was quietly celebrated across the world. Those who monitor the activities of world economies, also used the opportunity to reflect once more on the roles telecommunications development has played and the boost technologies have added to the world economic order.
Interestingly, this year's theme, highlighted 'Better life in rural communities with ICTs', which was adopted by ITU Council in 2009, followed up in 2010 with theme 'Better city, better life with ICTs'. In these themes, perhaps, lie the focus of many nations in trying to up their economic bases, using the instrument of Information and Communications Technology, ICT.
Also, the theme, may have not only provided emerging markets like Nigeria a pathway to solidifying their positions in world ICT standing but has also raised challenges on taking growth to the next level. ICTs are increasingly in demand to meet the Millennium Development Goals. In the rural context, ICTs provide enhanced opportunities to generate income and combat poverty, hunger, ill health and illiteracy. As ICTs constantly reshape the way the world communicates, it is most appropriate to connect such benefits to the most disadvantaged sections of the society.
In his message to the event which marks ITU's 146th anniversary, Secretary General of the union, Dr Hamadoun Toure said ICT also act as catalysts in accelerating progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals.
He said that 'ICTs and related e-applications are key instruments in improving governance and rural services, such as providing community health care, safe drinking water and sanitation, education, food and shelter; improving maternal health and reducing child mortality; empowering women and the more vulnerable members of society; and ensuring environmental sustainability. Toure frowned that among the estimated 3.5 billion rural residents, are as many as 1.4 billion of the world's extremely poor people, who are also among the least connected to the benefits of ICTs, adding that the situation should not be allowed to continue as time has come for global action to connect rural communities to the opportunities offered by ICTs.