The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has announced that Nigeria accounts for a substantial 82% of Africa’s total telecom subscriptions, underscoring its prominent position in the continent’s telecommunications landscape.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, shared this statistic during the ‘Emerging Technology Forum’ report presentation for stakeholders in the telecommunications industry held in Abuja on Thursday. Additionally, he stated that Nigeria represents 29% of Africa’s internet consumption, ranking 11th globally in internet penetration and 7th in mobile phone usage.
Despite these commendable figures, Prof Danbatta highlighted the relatively low Network Readiness Index (NRI) of Nigeria. The NRI measures the impact and role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) across four main categories: technology (infrastructure), governance, people, and impact. In the 2022 ranking, Nigeria stood at 109th out of 131 countries, signifying room for enhancement in these critical areas. Network readiness forms the bedrock of social and economic transformation.
The prioritization of network readiness is both strategic and mandated, as stated by the NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman who was represented by Abraham Osahadami, the NCC’s Head of Spectrum Database Management. It encompasses technological infrastructure, governance structures, skilled workforce, and measurable impact to optimally employ ICT.
Ubale Maska, the Executive Commissioner of Technical Services at NCC, added that the NRI indicates a country’s adaptability to global digital transformation.
The Emerging Technology Forum serves as a convergence point for innovation and progress, bridging the gap between aspirations and achievements. By embracing insights from the NRI, Nigeria aspires to transform into a fully interconnected, telecommunications-driven nation. The approach aims to leverage emerging technologies for widespread societal benefits.
Dr Chidi Diugwu of NCC emphasized that adopting NRI insights could unlock new opportunities, narrow the digital divide, and foster an inclusive digital future. The forum’s objectives encompass establishing standard roadmaps, reviewing recent NRI findings, understanding obstacles and driving forces behind innovative technology implementation, and devising solutions to fortify the telecommunications sector.
Dr. Chidi further underscored the importance of NRI insights in shaping policies, investments, and collaborations. Aligning policies with NRI capabilities promotes innovation culture and strategic incorporation of emerging technologies. By strategically investing in human capital and skills development, Nigeria can harness the potential of emerging technologies and navigate a technology-centric environment effectively. Embracing NRI insights bolsters a connected and technologically advanced future for Nigeria.