Digital inclusion: 9 recommendations for impact in Lagos State
Digital is changing our lives! It is changing our jobs, how we run our businesses, how we manage our health, how we manage our work, how we learn and it is changing how we manage money.
Having the digital skills, motives, spaces, provisions, technology infrastructures, leadership and the confidence to navigate the digital world is becoming essential for life, education and work.
According to the World Economic Forum’s publication titled Our Shared Digital Future, the fourth industrial revolution is well underway and it has the power to reduce inequalities in Lagos, Nigeria, Africa, and the world at large.
However, doing so depends on having certain technological levers and mechanisms in place. Doing so depends on empowering everyone – regardless of geography, location, income, age or gender – and it requires concerted action and greater collaboration across all players.
- Encourage employers to support basic and intermediate digital skills: especially for low-skilled staff, using resources available off and online and in communities. We need to find better ways to engage and support people in low-paid jobs, with low literacy, low digital skills, and who want to progress.
- Use digital inclusion to catalyse collaboration locally: Stronger strategic leadership by local authorities with comprehensive strategies for digital inclusion are needed. Co-ordinated pathways to support and make it easier for people to get the support that they need to progress.
- Accessible and affordable Broadband infrastructure (i.e Fiber Optic): Broadband also plays an important role in improving social outcomes. Broadband democratizes access to education, offering a wide supply of free and open education platforms, courses, and resources. It can also help people foster social support and stay in contact with a broader social network.
- Invest in citizen institutions such as Local Government Libraries and community learning centres: The library is a controlled space for connecting with children while allowing them space and time to make their own connections. Children can now enjoy many free activities with their parent/s or guardian at the local library.
- Embed digital inclusion in all major initiatives: For jobs and skills, financial inclusion, and small business support. We have now reached technology adoption maturity ushering in the decline that will lead to new AI and AR. Digital should be an integral component, not a bolt.
- Promote the benefits of digital and the internet: especially for people on local incomes and those seeking work. Some significant economic opportunities lie in monitoring micro businesses, educational institutions and sole traders to embrace technology and digital.
- Provide free and affordable essential digital skills support for citizens: For everyone who needs it, prioritising those who are constrained by poverty. The Lagos government needs to use their developed powers to ensure adult skill policies deliver a genuinely inclusive and effective offer. This means: recognising that effective support is much wider than digital skills; it is about digital motivation and confidence and developing people’s ability to apply digital skills for life and work. Supporting trusted and recognised faces and trusted faces in local places is the best way to reach individuals, organisations, lawmakers and institutions who need support the most. Finally, ensuring that support keeps pace with digital trends, online safety, skills for the future of work and digital financial skills.
- Support holistic approaches to the digital capability that understand the wider needs of the individuals: foregrounding digital skills about social inclusion and education. Our local services should be person-centred, agile and motivational, taking into account the interactions between individual factors, personal circumstances and external factors.
- Harness the power of peers: to build skills and motivation, whether through peer support in communities, schools, or local and national business networks. Furthermore, when people share stories of how digital has benefited them, this can motivate others.
There are deep-reaching opportunities to use digital inclusion to create a fairer society and equitable and inclusive economy in Lagos State and Nigeria but we can only make it happen if we work together.