The executive vice chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta has called out to international telecom companies and potential investors to seize the opportunities presented by Nigeria’s population of over 200 million people and invest in the country’s telecom sector, particularly in broadband infrastructure provisioning.
Danbatta, who extended the invitation during the recent inaugural edition of the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) 2023 in Marrakesh, Morocco, emphasised Nigeria’s stable political and economic conditions while addressing the attendees.
Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Nigeria’s Ambassador to Morocco, Mansur Bamalli, echoed his sentiments, commending the commission for its regulatory prowess, which has positioned Nigeria as the next investment destination in Africa.
Representing Danbatta at the conference, the team lead of Nigeria Office for Developing the Indigenous Telecom Sector (NODITS), Babagana Digima stated that the commission’s mandate is to facilitate the development of the telecom industry in Nigeria. One way to achieve this is by attracting foreign investors who can contribute to the country’s economic growth.
Digima informed the global stakeholders that the Nigerian government has been highly supportive of the telecom industry, leading to its upward growth. With over 220 million active mobile voice subscriptions, over 150 million Internet subscriptions and broadband penetration of 48 per cent, Nigeria is yet to achieve full connectivity.
“The national plan is to achieve 70 per cent broadband penetration by 2025. Currently, we have less than 50 per cent penetration, indicating significant investment potential for interested parties. Nigeria’s telecom sector requires more investment in infrastructure deployment,” explained the EVC.
Danbatta highlighted that the telecom sector has become a major contributor to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), quarter-on-quarter, driving the growth of the country’s digital economy.
“The significance of this event for us as a commission is to showcase the NCC as a Nigerian brand, a leading telecom regulator in Africa and beyond, and to attract the necessary investments that will foster the development of the Nigerian telecom industry,” Danbatta affirmed.
He also emphasised the abundance of talent in Nigeria, which investors can tap into to support their business operations. “There is a wealth of human resources waiting to be harnessed by potential investors for groundbreaking global technological innovations and advancements in providing digital solutions,” he added.
Furthermore, the event provided a platform for the commission to showcase some of the talents discovered in Nigeria. The NCC sponsored three indigenous start-ups to display their solutions and seek prospective investors and partnerships.
According to a statement by the director of public affairs at the commission, Reuben Muoka, GITEX Africa 2023 marked the maiden edition of the GITEX Global Summit held in Africa. The summit aims to be Africa’s most influential forum, highlighting the vast potential of the tech-driven digital economy. It serves as an international platform for cutting-edge technology, catering to both the public and private sectors.
Danbatta’s call to investors at GITEX Africa reflects Nigeria’s determination to harness its telecom sector’s potential. With a supportive government, a growing subscriber base and plans for increased broadband penetration, Nigeria is poised to become a prime investment hub in Africa’s telecom industry.