By Olabisi Olaleye
Technology solutions provider, Huawei disclosed recently that 53 per cent of Nigerians are yet to have access to the Internet.
Managing director, Huawei Nigeria, Mr. Frank Li, stated this during a media conference organised by the company in Lagos.
The event focused on the impact of ICT development on the Nigerian economy.
Li also noted that the ATM card has a prevalence of less than 12 per cent in the country and many people in rural areas have need for financial service but don’t have an ATM card.
He noted that Huawei would continue to support technology development in Nigeria through its various initiatives.
Li said, “We are building a national backbone for 36 states to enable e-government and to redefine the way Nigeria does things.”
He also cited low broadband penetration, which is currently 21 per cent, and the need for Nigeria to surpass its broadband target of 30 per cent penetration by 2018, has called for increased fibre optic cable deployment across the country.
Li stressed that the need for Nigeria to invest more in broadband infrastructure deployment, to enable its citizens fully utilise the huge deposits of broadband capacities at the shores of the country, from various submarine cable operators like MainOne, Glo1, MTN WACS, and SAT 3.
Aside from the need for ubiquitous broadband access, through heavy deployment of fibre optic cables across the country, Li also called for policy consistency on the part of government, which he said, would enable every successful government to build on existing projects that are tilted towards digital technology transformation.
He further stated that digital transformation remained the bedrock of economic development for advanced nations, and Nigeria must take full advantage of the fourth industrial revolution, that is purely knowledge based.
“Nigeria needs more fibre optic cable deployment and long-term policy implementation for speedy technology development, and Huawei will continue to play a major role in Nigeria’s digital transformation, since Nigeria is a huge market for Huawei.
“Government must do more to fast-track digital transformation across the country. The ripple effect with return on investment is high and it will continue to boost GDP growth of the county,” Li said.
Also, ICT consultant and former director-general of NTA, Vincent Maduka, who spoke at the conference on technology growth in Nigeria, observed that a lot of development has taken place in the country’s ICT sector, but there was still need for more investment in modern technologies that would speed up economic development.
Looking at the impact of ICT development on the Nigerian economy, the country editor of The Business Year, Silvia Lambiase disclosed that aside from the major chalenges, ICT occupies a central role in the current administration’s agenda, “and it is expected to contribute to monitoring and tracking information in real time, allowing better decision-making.”
Director, communication and information, UNESCO Nigeria, Macaulay Olushola, who was represented by Anthony Ogunniyi, called on Nigerians to use ICT for education, creation of wealth, poverty eradication, job creation and global competitiveness.
He said the use of ICT would ensure sustainable economic development and poverty reduction.
“At the wake of 2000, the federal government of Nigeria embarked on an aggressive drive on the privatisation and deregulation policies of the ICT sub-sector, which led to the establishment of the National Telecommunication Policy in December 2001.
“The policy, among other things, recognised the need for the establishment of an enabling environment for deregulation and rapid expansion of the telecommunication services in the country.
“The implementation of ICTs policy led to the adoption of Global System for Mobile-Communications (GSM) and its related components in Nigeria, and this has led to telecoms growth in the country,” Olushola said.