The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, revealed that Nigeria ranks eleventh globally in internet penetration and seventh in mobile phone usage. He shared this information during the opening ceremony of the Emerging Technology Forum in Abuja, which focuses on adapting the Network Readiness Index for the Nigerian telecommunications industry.
The EVC, represented by the Head, Spectrum Database Management, Mr. Abraham Oshadami, emphasized that global data collected by the NRI team highlights the importance of digital transformation for maximizing the social and economic benefits of the digital era. The NRI assessed 131 economies across four categories: Technology (infrastructure), governance, people, and impact.
The NCC boss noted that Nigeria is a telecommunications leader, hosting 82% of the continent’s telecom subscribers and accounting for 29% of the continent’s internet consumption. He says our country ranks 11th worldwide in internet penetration and 7th in mobile phone usage. However, our Network Readiness Index (NRI) ranking for 2022 is 109th out of 131 countries, highlighting the need for improvement in digital readiness despite these impressive statistics.
Danbatta emphasized the importance of prioritizing network readiness, stating that it’s crucial for social and economic transformation. He noted that while it can create inequalities, it also enables greater efficiency and plays a role in evolving formal education. Metrics are essential for informed policymaking in this context.
He stressed the need for accessible and affordable reskilling and upskilling opportunities to promote inclusive and sustainable economies. He highlighted the significance of the NRI as a metric for evaluating the impact of ICT. To thrive in this transformative era, he called for innovation, strategic investments, and the development of growth-friendly ecosystems.
Danbatta urged stakeholders to explore emerging technologies, envision their uses, and find ways to solve industry challenges. He emphasized the platform’s potential for innovative solutions and stressed the importance of global collaboration and knowledge sharing for a brighter future.
Dr. Chidi Diugwu, the Head of New Media and Information Security at NCC, emphasized the importance of utilizing insights from NRI to shape policies, investments, and collaborations. He believes that doing so will allow Nigeria to tap into the potential of emerging technologies, invest in human capital, and promote innovation.
This approach is expected to result in the discovery of new opportunities, narrowing the digital divide, and ultimately, establishing a prosperous and inclusive digital future for the country.
Ubale Maska, the Executive-Commissioner of Technical Services at the NCC, highlighted that the National Roaming Steering Committee (NRSC) is a significant gauge of how well the country is embracing global digital transformation.
Maska emphasized that the NRI reflects the nation’s progress in this transformation and its position on the global digital stage. He stated that the forum aims to analyze the obstacles and factors driving emerging technologies in the Nigerian telecommunications sector.