Fresh investments in digital technologies would enable Nigeria to actively play in the fourth industrial revolution.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which raised this view yesterday in Lagos at the 2018 Information Communications Technology and Telecommunication (ICTEL) Expo, organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), informed that thus far, about $70 Billion has been invested in the telecoms sector by both local and foreign operators.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, while giving his goodwill message, said despite the level of investments, the sector needed fresh investments to sustain growth and harness the various opportunities embedded in the fourth industrial revolution.
While calling on LCCI and others in the private sector to join hands with the commission to drive digital inclusion, Danbatta puts the country’s teledensity at 116 per cent, saying there are now over 162 million active mobile connections and over 100 million Internet users in the country.
Telephone density or teledensity is the number of telephone connections for every hundred individuals living within an area. It varies widely across the nation and also between urban and rural areas within a country.
Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Consumer Affairs, NCC, Mrs. Felicia Onwuegbuchilam, at the forum, which had its theme as: ‘Developing Efficiency and Competitiveness in the Digital Age’, noted that in the 21st Century economies, digitisation is throwing up dynamics that are re-writing the rules of competition and efficiency with incumbent companies most at risk of being left behind.
According to him, trends such as automation of processes by public and private organizations, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, eCommerce and block chain technology, Cloud Computing among others now characterize the current digital age, “the utmost aim of these digital tools is to redefine how services are delivered to the consumer.”
To fast-track these developments, the NCC boss said broadband penetration or fast Internet connection was critical, adding: “the country has an auspicious target to achieve 30 per cent broadband penetration by year end, which is in line with the National Broadband Plan 2013-2018. In this regards, I am happy to inform you that, so far, and despite teething challenges, we have hit 22 per cent threshold of the target.”
He stressed that broadband access would help to accelerate economic development and boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with telecom’s contribution to Nigeria’s GDP currently standing at over nine per cent.