Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure I address you today at this esteemed “Emerging Technology Forum for the Telecommunications Industry”. This forum aims to establish a National Network Readiness Index (NRI) by exploring the driving factors of emerging technologies, further examining the sustainability and barriers of the NRI’s four pillars – Technology, People, Governance, and Impact.
The NRI, widely used for monitoring access and impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), is an invaluable tool for identifying gaps, stimulating action, structuring policy dialogue, and tracking ICT readiness over time. The Tech Industry is a focal point of Nigeria’s growth, demonstrated by the recent investments in infrastructure and digital services. Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics indicate that Nigeria’s ICT sector contributed up to 14.07% to the total GDP in the first quarter of 2020, and this had grown to 17.47% by Q1 2023.
The Federal Government’s focus on the Tech Industry, particularly on fostering the advancement and growth of technology especially emerging and new technologies is highly commendable. This is one of the objectives of the NCC in its strategic pillar: Promotion of DIGITAL ECONOMY and is cascaded to the New Media and Information Security Department as one of its critical mandates . This goal of enhancing the productivity ecosystem, is expected to result in a significant boost to the nation’s innovative capabilities in the coming years.
There has been remarkable development in Nigeria’s ICT infrastructure in recent years, with skyrocketing mobile penetration rates, and internet connectivity expanding drastically. The Commission’s commitment to enhance network infrastructure, coupled with the private sector’s contributions has significantly transformed our connectivity landscape. It is crucial to note that the NRI is not just about the latest technologies or high-speed internet access. It also includes elements such as affordability, digital skills, and the availability and adoption of digital services in various sectors of the economy.
Nigeria’s performance on the NRI index from 2020 to 2022, as reported by the Potulans Institute, indicates a mixture of improvement and challenges that still persists. Thus, applying the Network Readiness Index in the Telecommunication Industry is of paramount importance in our current digital ecosystem. Utilising the insights it brings allows us to amplify our strengths, address our challenges, and propel our nation into a brighter digital future. However, despite the importance of NRI in channelling the strengths and opportunities of our tech ecosystem, it is imperative that the metrics are localized to reflect our current realities.
As we move forward, let us embrace the insights offered by the NRI to guide our policies, investments, and collaborations to enable us harness the potentials of emerging technologies, investing in human capital, and fostering innovation that will unlock new opportunities, bridge the digital divide, and create a prosperous and inclusive digital future for Nigeria.
I wish us all a successful discourse and outcome.