U.S. senator: Internet connectivity vital to drive modern economy

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a ranking United States (U.S.) Democratic Party member on Africa and Global Health Policy Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at the weekend in Lagos, told prominent technology leaders in business, civil society, government, and especially young entrepreneurs, that internet connectivity and successful economic development are inextricably linked in the 21st century’s global economy.

He spoke when he led a congressional delegation to Lagos where he heard from technology leaders and young entrepreneurs regarding their successes and challenges, and offered remarks on his efforts to expand internet access and digital literacy to enhance economic development, education, and good governance in developing countries.

He said:  “It will be the entrepreneurial and creative attitude of the people in Nigeria and across the African continent that will be the key to overcoming challenges to connectivity. You all embody the vibrant spirit that is the heart of the internet. You will be digital ambassadors in bringing more connectivity to this great country and the region.”

Senator Markey has introduced proposed legislation in the U.S. Congress titled: Driving Innovation and Growth in Internet Technology And Launching Universal Access to the Global Economy (DIGITAL AGE) Act, aimed at promoting public-private partnerships, and expanding Internet access with policy tools encouraging improved support for investors, strengthened and shared infrastructure, better spectrum allocation, and creation of public Internet access facilities and affordable devices.

Senator Markey’s bicameral delegation includes Karen Bass (D-Calif.), ranking Democratic Party member of the Africa and Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), both members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The delegation also met with Nigerian Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo to discuss how public-private partnerships in the areas of technology and infrastructure can promote economic growth and development.

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