Group To Buhari: Declare Emergency In ICT Sector

Filed in Business by on December 19, 2017

A group, Broadband 2018 Coalition, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to declare a state of emergency in the information communication technology (ICT) sector over Nigeria’s poor ranking on the ICT Development Index (IDI).

Titled: “Measuring the Information Society Report (MISR)”, and published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the report rated Nigeria 143rd on the global scene.

It lamented that it is a significant downward shift from the 137th position it occupied last year. On the African index, Nigeria also placed 15th behind countries, such as Mauritius, South Africa, Kenya, Gabon, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Cote d’Ivoire.

The ICT Development Index is a composite measure, which combines 11 indicators into one benchmark index to monitor and compare ICT developments among 176 countries. The three-dimension frameworks used to measure the IDI are Access (level of ICT readiness, which includes five infrastructure and access indicators: fixed-telephone subscriptions, mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions, international Internet bandwidth per Internet user, households with a computer, and households with Internet access); use (level of ICT intensity which includes three intensity and usage indicators: individuals using the Internet, fixed broadband subscriptions, and mobile-broadband subscriptions) and skills (capabilities or skills which are important for ICTs and include three proxy indicators: years of schooling, gross secondary enrolment and gross tertiary enrolment).

Coalition convener and technology expert, Danjuma Yusuf, lamented that Nigeria’s technology landscape needed urgent intervention, given its sharp stagnation and decline in recent years. He urged the Federal and state governments, and other relevant regulatory agencies to quickly focus on strategies that would increase the country’s global competitiveness in ICT.

According to Yusuf, Nigeria has become an object of ridicule on global ICT rankings after being beaten by countries with much lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

He said with direct connections to five submarine cables that cost $7billion of Africa’s $20billion submarine cable investments, Nigeria has no excuse for not leading the African index ahead of South Africa (with four submarine cables), Zimbabwe and Gabon with two cables each, and urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Nigeria’s ICT sector.

Yusuf cited Kenya as a country that also launched its Broadband policy in 2013, but is leading Africa in internet penetration with over 30 million people having (67 per cent) internet access, according to the Jumia Business Intelligence and GSMA ‘White Paper 2017: “Trends from the Kenyan Smartphone and eCommerce Industry”.

He said the country was able to achieve the feat because of the proactive regulation and a government-funded National Optic Fibre Backbone Infrastructure (NOFBI) project, which rolled out hundreds of thousands kilometers of fiber optic cables across Kenya’s 47 counties.

According to him, Kenya’s leadership initiatives have ensured that the country remains one of Africa’s leading recipients of foreign direct investment and the fastest advancing country in ICT on the continent.

Mr. Yusuf urged speedy implementation of the five-year Broadband Plan stating broadband has played an outsized role in transforming societies and economic opportunities across the world, facilitating education and knowledge dissemination, enabling trade and commerce and contributing to growing entrepreneurship across the world.


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