The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta, has said that Nigeria is now rated 11th in terms of internet penetration and seventh in mobile phone usage globally.
Danbatta made the disclosure at the opening ceremony of the two-day Emerging Technology Forum for the Telecommunications Industry, themed “Contextualising the Network Readiness Index (NRI) for the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry,” on Thursday in Abuja.
Danbatta, represented by Abraham Oshadami, Head, Spectrum Database Management, NCC, said the global data collected by the NRI team revealed that digital transformation is imperative in order to maximise the social and economic effects of the digital era.
He said the NIR explores the performances of 131 economies in the four categories of technology (infrastructure), governance, people, and impact.
According to him: “Nigeria is a telecommunications powerhouse, with 82 per cent of the continent’s telecom subscribers and 29 per cent of the continent’s internet consumption.
” Our nation rates eleventh globally in terms of internet penetration and seventh in terms of mobile phone usage.
“The global data collected by the NRI team reveals that digital transformation is a global imperative in order to maximise the social and economic effects of the digital era.
“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.”
Danbatta said that, as agents of social and economic transformation in the nation, prioritising network readiness was not only a strategic necessity but a mandate.
He said: “It can create new inequalities, which can hinder the ability of younger generations to engage in the digital economy, but it also remains a powerful way to do more with less at all levels of income.
“Formal education is evolving, and metrics are important to support informed policymaking. This requires reskilling and upskilling opportunities to be available, accessible, and affordable in order to have more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies.
“The NRI is a guiding metric that measures the role and impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). To navigate this era of transformation, we must embrace innovation, make strategic investments, and cultivate a growth-friendly ecosystem.”
He called on stakeholders to utilise this opportunity to investigate emerging technologies, envision their potential applications, and determine how they can be leveraged to solve specific challenges.
“This platform is our gateway to innovative and disruptive solutions that can positively transform our industry. By engaging in conversations about new technologies, collaborating with global best practices and subject-matter experts, and pooling our insights, we open the door to unimaginable future possibilities,” Danbatta said.
Earlier, Dr Chidi Diugwu, Head, New Media and Information Security, NCC, in his opening remarks, urged stakeholders: “As we move forward, let us embrace the insights offered by the NRI to guide our policies, investments, and collaborations to enable us to harness the potentials of emerging technologies.”
He called for investment in human capital and the fostering of innovation that will unlock new opportunities, bridge the digital divide, and create a prosperous and inclusive digital future for Nigeria.
Ubale Maske, NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, said: “NRI is a strong indicator of how the country is adapting to the digital transformation that is happening all over the world and will help us access our progress and position on the global digital train.”
He said further: “This forum seeks to examine the different barriers and key drivers of emerging technologies as far as the Nigerian telecommunications industry is concerned.”