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Nigeria Dominates African Telecom Subscriptions, NCC Reports

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The executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta.
The executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta.

The Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that Nigeria holds a substantial 82 per cent share of telecom subscriptions in Africa and contributes to 29 per cent of the continent’s internet usage.

The executive vice chairman of the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta shared this information during the inauguration of a two-day workshop on emerging technology in the telecommunications sector in Abuja. The event, which took place yesterday, aimed to explore the potential of new technologies within the industry.

Danbatta emphasised that Nigeria has climbed to the 11th position globally in terms of internet penetration and ranks seventh worldwide for mobile phone usage, as per the Nigerian Communications Commission’s data.

“Despite these remarkable metrics, the fact that our Network Readiness Index (NRI) ranking for 2022 is 109th out of 131 countries is both humbling and challenging,” he commented.

Danbatta elaborated that the Nigerian telecommunications industry has embarked on a trajectory of substantial growth in recent years, firmly establishing itself as an engine of economic development. The advancements in digital access and network expansion have left an indelible mark on the lives of citizens.

“While we celebrate these accomplishments, we are keenly aware that our dynamic society requires even higher connectivity, reliability and accessibility standards,” he asserted.

He highlighted the surge in data utilisation, the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), the advent of artificial intelligence and the emergence of cutting-edge technologies as factors underscoring the need for ongoing network surveillance and expansion.

Danbatta stressed that to navigate this transformative era successfully, the nation must foster innovation, make strategic investments and cultivate an environment conducive to growth.

“The platform is Nigeria’s gateway to innovative and disruptive solutions that can positively transform our industry,” he stated. He called for discussions on new technologies, collaboration with global best practices and experts, and pooling insights to open doors to unprecedented possibilities.

He shared insights from the global data collected by the NRI team, which underscores that digital transformation is a global necessity for maximising the social and economic impact of the digital era.

“The NRI is a guiding metric that measures the role and impact of information and communication technology (ICT). It explores the performances of 131 economies in four key categories: technology (infrastructure), governance, people and impact,” Danbatta explained.

He emphasised that prioritising network readiness is not just a strategic imperative but a mandate for all involved in social and economic transformation. The forum aimed to explore the foundational pillars of the NRI through presentations by professionals in the technology landscape.

The head of new media and information security at the NCC, Dr. Chidi Diugwu also addressed the audience. He urged stakeholders to adopt insights offered by the NRI as guiding principles for policies, investments and collaborations. This, he said, would enable Nigeria to tap into the potential of emerging technologies, invest in human capital and foster innovation, ultimately bridging the digital divide and building an inclusive digital future for the country.

NCC’s executive commissioner for technical services, Ubale Maske expressed the significance of the NRI as an indicator of Nigeria’s adaptation to global digital transformation. He emphasised the forum’s objective to examine barriers and drivers of emerging technologies in the Nigerian telecommunications sector.

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