• Friday, June 14, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria misses top 10 place in list of countries harnessing IT in Africa

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As African countries race to close the gap with the rest of the world in the area of Information Technology, a new ranking, Networked Readiness Index (NRI) has shown that countries like Nigeria are still lagging behind peers like Mauritius, South Africa, Seychelles, Morocco, Rwanda, Tunisia, Cape Verde on the continent.

The NRI measures the inclination for countries to exploit the opportunities offered by information, communications and technology (ICT) and is regarded as the most reliable and comprehensive assessment.

The ranking, an aggregation from the World Economic Forum Global Information Technology Report 2016, which was released on Wednesday has Nigeria in the 19th position on the African continent and 119th in the world.
US based technology company, Cisco which sponsored the report, explained that although Nigeria’s NRI ranking did not change from the previous report, “This fact masks significant heterogeneity in terms of moves in individual dimensions of networked readiness – in particular, a six-spot move up in Readiness  (to 117th) and a ten-spot move down in impacts (to 114th).

“The improvement in readiness is to a large extent thanks to Nigeria reaching full mobile coverage this year; broadband prices have also fallen slightly, although they remain high,” the report says.

Cisco further notes that despite political and regulatory environments which appears to be improving on “several fronts,” the business and innovation environment are seen to be “deteriorating;” to make matters worse, government patronage including usage and engagement of IT have dropped significantly over the course of the year. But the author of the report hopes that the situation will “change under the new government.

Other countries in Africa which made the top spots were Kenya, Egypt, and Namibia. The top ten countries at the global level include Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Norway, United States, Netherlands, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Luxembourg and Japan.

The large strides achieved by Africa’s most industrialized nation, South Africa, in the overall NRI rankings to 65th (up ten) and first spot in Africa, despite a deteriorating business and innovation environment, were mainly driven by improvements in infrastructure and affordability. The achievements notwithstanding, are not enough to put South Africa ahead of Mauritius which has been the top performer in the continent for many years.

wanda ascension, said Cisco, came about because the government had is major attention on digital technology.

A policy priority with far-reaching benefits in other areas, said Cisco, should be to address the country’s skills gap.

“As the new digital economy is taking shape, building the right framework conditions will be crucial. Digital technologies are unleashing new economic and social dynamics which will need to be managed if the digital transformation of industries and societies are to deliver long-term and broad-based gains.

“The new digital economy thus also calls for new types of leadership, governance and behaviours. A critical ingredient for the success and sustainability of the emerging system will be governance frameworks, which allow societies to anticipate and shape the impact of emerging technologies and react quickly to changing circumstances,” said World Economic Forum (WEF) in a statement.