Monday, September 26, 2022

Nigeria’s ICT Industry Witnessing Phenomenal Growth – Pantami

…Broadband penetration hits 42.79%

Isa Pantami
The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, has posited that Nigeria’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry has been witnessing phenomenal growth and enabling socio-economic development in Nigeria and across Africa. 

Pantami made this assertion during a tea break hosted by Nigeria on the sideline of the ongoing 2022 International Telecommunication Union’s World Telecommunications Development Conference (ITU-WTDC) taking place in Kigali Rwanda from June 6 to 16, 2022. The tea break was attended by senior officials of the ITU, including the secretary-general, Houlin Zhao, as well as representatives and heads of delegations from different countries attending the annual conference.

Addressing delegates on behalf of the minister, the executive commissioner, technical services, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Ubale Maska, said that Nigeria has continually recorded impressive growth in her ICT sector and acknowledged the support of the ITU in these developments.

“Nigeria has utilised ICT as a driver of socio-economic development; not just for herself, but also for the benefit of the sub-region and continent, given her role as a founding member and strategic sponsor of the West Africa Telecommunications Regulators Assembly (WATRA),” he said.

Providing statistics from the Nigerian ICT industry, the minister said in the last 20 years, Nigeria has achieved robust growth in her telecoms industry, going from less than half a million connected telephone lines to over 200 million active mobile lines as of April 2022. Given the figures, the broadband penetration in Nigeria was pegged at 42.79 per cent.

“As a country, we have grown from 2G to 3G, 4G and now the 5G is about to come aboard after conducting a globally-acclaimed transparent auction and awards of two 5G licences. Also, the country has implemented vigorous financial inclusion initiatives riding on robust digital infrastructure,” he said.

Pantami said Nigeria’s many achievements in ICT development have been possible through the successful launch and implementation of policies that foster the use of ICT across all sectors to enhance a digital economy.

Meanwhile, as a long-standing member of the ITU Council, he said Nigeria has been playing remarkable roles in ITU, such as chairing the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) 2022, the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC) 2015 and the ITU Council Standing Committee on Administration and Management (SC-ADM) in 2019 and 2022.

The minister said Nigeria has also chaired the meeting of the ad-hoc Committee on ITU Regional Presence, served as chair and vice-chair of several study groups and provided financial support to the ITU headquarters. Maska assured the participants that Nigeria hopes to have the privilege and honour to continue to serve in the forthcoming ITU Council cycle (2022-2026).

He went on to commend the government of Rwanda for hosting this year’s edition of the conference on behalf of the continent.

In his speech during the brief event, the ITU scribe, Houlin Zhao, extolled Nigeria’s role and contributions as a member of the ITU Council. He used the opportunity to seek the support of the other member countries for Nigeria’s membership in the next cycle, 2022-2026.

A statement by the NCC’s director of public affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, said the WTDC, taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, features the Partner2Connect Digital Development Roundtable from June 7 to 9, 2022.  It was preceded by the Generation Connect Global Youth Summit from June 2 to 4, 2022.

The ITU, through its Telecommunication Development Bureau (TDB), organises the WTDC in the period between two plenipotentiary conferences (the supreme organ of ITU which takes place every four years), to consider topics, projects and programmes relevant to telecommunication development. The WTDC sets the strategies and objectives for the development of telecommunication and ICT, as well as provides future direction and guidance to the ITU Telecommunication Development Sector (ITU-D).

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