DFID, GSMA Release £38m Fund for Nigeria, Others
The Department for International Development is partnering with the Global System for Mobile Communication Association to invest £38m in mobile technology solutions focusing on Nigeria and other African countries.
The organisations, while making the announcement in Kigali, Rwanda on Tuesday said that the funding for GSMA’s Mobile for Development initiative would also scale investment in life-enhancing technology solutions for people living with disability and women in Africa and other regions.
This work has already benefitted 20 million people since its inception in 2017 and this is only one small part of the UK’s support for Nigeria, the British Minister of State for Africa, Harriet Baldwin, made this known during a visit to the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Femi Hamzat, according to a statement.
According to her, the Mobile for Development is projected to reach 24 million people around the globe by providing access to life-enhancing mobile-enabled services.
Speaking in Kigali, the Senior Innovation Adviser, DFID, Magdalena Banasiak, said the partnership would focus on the unconnected population, especially women and disabled, in order to bridge the digital divide, adding that digital literacy was crucial to increasing the usage of digital services.
“We are scaling up work with GSMA with Mobile for Development. We are working to provide life-enhancing services for the underserved and this is a £38m global initiative with a strong focus on Africa,” she said.
Banasiak added, “The initiative goes on our success today working with the mobile industry having provided life-enhancing services to over 20 million people, 70 per cent of which are women. The partnership will look at three pillars. The first one is around inclusion. Looking at how we can reach the last-mile – those unconnected and increase digital literacy to increase usage and connectivity.”
The Director, Mobile for Development, sub-Saharan Africa, Gerald Rasugu, said the funding would support agric tech start-ups and humanitarian efforts in partnership with mobile operators, among others on the continent.
“It is for a number of programmes within the Mobile for Development. The funding is for four years and will support assistive technology space because we need to start thinking of what kind of innovation can help people with disability,” he said.