By Lilian Ukagwu
The Nigerian Telecommunications Commission on Thursday said Nigeria rated 11th in terms of Internet penetration and seventh in terms of mobile phone usage worldwide.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta said at the opening ceremony of the two-day Emerging Technology Forum for the Telecommunications Industry in Abuja.
The EVC who spoke through the head, Spectrum Database Management, NCC, Abraham Oshadami, stated that the worldwide data gathered by the NRI team demonstrated that digital transformation was a global need in order to optimise the social and economic effects of the digital era.
He added that the NIR examined the performance of 131 economies across four categories: technology (infrastructure), governance, people, and effect.
He said, “Nigeria is a telecommunications powerhouse, accounting for 82 per cent of the continent’s telecom subscribers and 29 per cent of the continent’s internet consumption.”
“Our country ranks eleventh in the world for internet penetration and seventh in mobile phone usage.
“The NRI team’s global data shows that digital transformation is a global imperative for maximising the social and economic effects of the digital era.
“Despite these remarkable metrics, our Network Readiness Index ranking for 2022 of 109th out of 131 countries is both humbling and challenging.”
Danbatta went on to state that, as representatives of social and economic development in the country, prioritising network preparedness is not only a strategic need but also a mission.
“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.
“To navigate this era of transformation, we must embrace innovation, make strategic investments, and cultivate a growth-friendly ecosystem,” Danbatta added.
Furthermore, the NCC boss urged stakeholders to use the opportunity to research emerging technologies, envision their possible applications, and assess how they may be used to address specific concerns.
“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.”
On his part, Head, New Media and Information Security, NCC, Dr. Chidi Diugwu, called on stakeholders to utilise NRI insights to shape policies, investments, and collaborations.
Speaking further, he stated that through investing in human capital and cultivating innovation, the nation will be able to harness the promise of emerging technology, adding that it would open up new opportunities, bridge the digital divide, and create a successful and inclusive digital future for Nigeria.
“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 potential of emerging technologies,” Diugwu said.
“Investing in human capital and encouraging innovation will create new opportunities, bridge the digital divide, and create a prosperous and inclusive digital future for Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC, Ubale Maska, noted that NRI was a powerful measure of how the country was adjusting to the global digital transition.
He added,” NRI is a significant indicator of how the country is adjusting to the global digital transformation, and it will help us track our progress and place on the global digital train.
“This forum seeks to investigate the various barriers and key drivers of emerging technologies in the Nigerian telecommunications industry.”