Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-chairman (EVC), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says Nigeria is rated eleventh in terms of internet penetration and seventh in terms of mobile phone usage globally.
Danbatta made the disclosure at the opening ceremony of the Emerging Technology Forum for the Telecommunications Industry on Thursday in Abuja.
It was reported that the theme of the two-day forum is: “Contextualising the Network Readiness Index (NRI) for the Nigerian Telecommunications Industry”.
The EVC, represented by Mr Abraham Oshadami, Head, Spectrum Database Management, NCC, said the global data collected by the NRI team revealed digital transformation was global imperative in order to maximise social and economic effects of digital era.
He said the NIR explored the performances of 131 economies in four categories, which include: Technology (infrastructure), governance, people, and impact.
The NCC boss said: “Nigeria is a telecommunications powerhouse, with 82 per cent of the continent’s telecom subscribers and 29 per cent of the continent’s internet consumption.
“Our nation rates eleventh globally in terms of internet penetration and seventh in terms of mobile phone usage.
“The global data collected by the NRI team reveals that digital transformation is a global imperative in order to maximize the social and economic effects of the digital era.
“Despite these remarkable metrics, the fact that our Network Readiness Index (NRI) ranking for 2022 is 109th out of 131 countries is both humbling and challenging.”
Danbatta said as agents of social and economic transformation in the nation, prioritising network readiness was not only a strategic necessity but a mandate.
“It can create new inequalities which can hinder the ability of younger generations to engage in the digital economy, but 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 (ICT)
“To navigate this era of transformation, we must embrace innovation, make strategic investments, and cultivate a growth-friendly ecosystem,” Danbatta added.
He furher called on the stakeholders to grasp the opportunity to investigate emerging technologies, envisage their potential applications, and determine how they can leverage to solve specific challenges.
Danbatta added: “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.”
Earlier, Dr Chidi Diugwu, Head, New Media and Information Security, NCC, in his opening remarks urged the stakeholders to embrace insights offered by NRI to guide policies, investments and collaborations.
Diugwu said this would enable the nation to harness the potentials of emerging technologies, investing in human capital, and fostering innovation.
This, he added, would lead to the unlocking of new opportunities, bridge the digital divide, and create a prosperous and inclusive digital future for Nigeria.
Diugwu added: “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.”
In his remarks, the Executive-Commissioner, Technical Services, NCC , Ubale Maska, said NRI was a strong indicator of how the country was adapting to the digital transformation happening all over the world.
He said:”NRI is a strong indicator of how the country is adapting to the digital transformation that is happening all over the world, and will help us access our progress and position on the global digital train.
“This forum seeks to examine the different barriers and key drivers of emerging technologies as far as the Nigerian telecommunications industry is concerned.”