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Nigeria is telecoms powerhouse, ranking 11th in global Internet connectivity –Danbatta

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC

*Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission, at a forum in Abuja, urges telecoms industry stakeholders to explore emerging technologies, applications, and determine how to leverage them to solve specific challenges to maximise socio-economic effects of digital era in the West African country

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has continued to lead the African continent in Internet penetration and mobile phone usage.

ConsumerConnect reports Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, stated this in his welcome address at the two-day Emerging Technology Forum for the Telecommunications Industry in Abuja, FCT.

Mobile Internet consumers

While contextualising the Network Readiness Index (NRI) for the Nigerian tecleommunications industry at the forum, Prof. Danbatta declared that “Nigeria is a telecommunications powerhouse.”

Represented at the event by Engr. Abraham Oshadami, Director of Spectrum Administration at NCC, Danbatta while reeling off relevant statistics to support his assertion, noted the West African country comprises 82 percent of the African  continent’s telecoms subscribers and 29 percent of the continent’s Internet consumption.

The EVC/CEO of the telecoms regulatory Commission also said: “Our nation (Nigeria) rates 11th globally in terms of Internet penetration and seventh in terms of mobile phone usage.”

He equally recalled that in recent years, the Nigerian telecoms industry had embarked on a remarkable growth trajectory, solidifying its position as an engine of economic growth.

According to him, the enhancement of digital access and the expansion of telecoms networks have left an indelible impact on the lives of Nigerian consumers.

Danbatta, however, observed that as the country celebrates these accomplishments, “we are keenly aware that our dynamic society requires even higher connectivity, reliability, and accessibility standards.”

The Executive Vice-Chairman of NCC also stressed with the surge in data utilisation, the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the emergence of cutting-edge technologies has highlighted the urgent need for ongoing network surveillance and expansion vis-a-vis the application of emerging technologies in the Nigerian digital ecosystem.

To navigate this era of transformation, we must embrace innovation, make strategic investments, and cultivate a growth-friendly ecosystem, said he.

Danbatta further noted: “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.”

Let’s explore emerging techs to solve specific problems, urges EVC

While rallying the stakeholders to interrogate and tap into the potential of the new technologies in the telecoms industry in Nigeria, Danbatta urged the stakeholders: “Let us grasp this opportunity to investigate emerging technologies, envisage their potential applications, and determine how they can be leveraged to solve our specific challenges.”

‘Digital transformation a global imperative’

The global data collected by the NRI team has revealed that digital transformation is a global imperative in order to maximise the social and economic effects of the digital era.

He also said this could  create new inequalities that could hinder the ability of younger generations to engage in the digital economy.

But it remains a powerful way to do more with less at all levels of income, noted Danbatta.

The NCC EVC/CEO stated: “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.

How Nigeria rates 11th globally in Internet penetration, phone usage

In his address at the forum Thursday, Prof. Danbatta disclosed the country

Danbatta told the audience: “Our nation rates eleventh globally in terms of Internet penetration and seventh in terms of mobile phone usage.”

Nonetheless, he reminded the stakeholders that in spite of these remarkable metrics in the Nigerian telecoms ecosystem, the fact that our Network Readiness Index (NRI) ranking for 2022 is 109th out of 131 countries is both humbling and challenging.

He described the NRI as “a guiding metric that measures the role and impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).”

It as well explores the performances of 131 economies in four key categories: technology (infrastructure), governance, people, and impact.

“As agents of social and economic transformation in our nation, prioritising network readiness is not only a strategic necessity but a mandate.

“Throughout our deliberations, we will engage in thought-provoking forum discussions that explore the foundational pillars of NRI, through a number of presentations by renowned professionals in the technology landscape.”

The EVC/CEO of NCC added: “The innovation symphony resonates with our common goals.

The Emerging Technology Forum acts as a beacon, directing us towards the intersection of transformation and advancement.

“This forum is where we bridge the divide between aspiration and achievement.

“Through spirited dialogues, collaborative exchanges, and the exploration of emerging technologies, we move closer to our vision of a fully interconnected, telecommunications-driven Nigeria.

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