‘Broadband Will Boost Ailing Nigerian Economy’


Emma Okonji

The Nigeria ICT Impact CEO Forum (NIICF) and the Africa Digital Awards (ADA) have stressed the need for fast broadband deployment in the country to resuscitate the Nigeria ailing economy.

Organisers of the forum said government must begin to look inwards on how best to deepen broadband penetration in the country for national development. Based on the foregoing, the focus for this year’s award is built around how the deployment of broadband could aid the ailing Nigerian economy and place it on the road to recovery.

A statement signed by the coordinator of the forum, TayoAdewusi, said “if Nigeria’s economy must catch up with the rest of the world in terms of technology development, government must begin to develop ideas around fast broadband deployment in the country.”

He expressed fears that data services have not recorded the same growth as voice, even though key trends have indicated that there would be high demand for data, to address the expected big data explosion that is already sweeping across the globe.

He frowned on the situation where Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is still being considered as the fastest growing sector in Nigeria, yet the growth rate is not as rapid as expected.

He said government should begin to build robust broadband infrastructure across the country to help drive digital revolution in Nigeria, which he said was imminent.

“Industry experts have posited that ICT is the next ‘oil and gas’ but government has to start implementation of certain ICT processes to achieve and substantiate the claim, as this is the only way to meaningful success in the ICT space,” Adewusi said.

He also condemned a situation where most of the broadband capacities are clustered at the shores of the country and suggested the need for government to build a national backbone infrastructure that would be used to transmit broadband capacities from the shore of the country to the hinterlands, where the services are most needed.
“How do we transport the huge capacity inland? There is an obvious absence of efficient distribution and dearth of last mile connection. However, there has been an appreciable growth in e-commerce and this can be properly harnessed through a significant broadband penetration,” he said.

Adewusi affirmed that broadband is a goldmine, stressing that the recovery of Nigeria’s economy is dependent on this goldmine. According to him, this will happen through the provision of the enabling environment, adding that broadband deployment should be predicated on availability, affordability, and quality of service delivery.
He said despite the presence of SAT-3, Main One and Glo 1 international undersea cables, which have brought a glut of fibre capacity on the shores of Nigeria with over 10 Tetrabytes per second (TBS), the country has done poorly in the data market and in broadband penetration.

He said all these would be addressed at the forth coming NIICF and ADA wards ceremonies slated to hold in June in Lagos.

He said the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, and the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta as well as the acting Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Vincent Olatunji, would be among the speakers that would discuss how broadband deployment could act as a catalyst to jumpstart Nigeria’s ailing economy.

Other speakers that would deliver papers on e-Commerce, media, broadcasting and government, include the acting Director General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), AlheriSaidu; Chief Executive Officer of MainOne Technology, Ms. FunkeOpeke; Managing Director of Phase 3 Telecom, Stanley Jegede, among others.

Themed: “How Can Broadband Deployment Impact on Nigeria’s Economy”, the event, which would precede the fifth edition of Africa Digital Awards ADA, would honour distinguished corporate organisations and personalities who have leveraged on the ICT.