Nigeria’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in real terms grew by 8.6 percent (year-on-year) in the second quarter of 2023, the highest growth rate in three years.
According to the latest Gross Domestic Product report by the National Bureau of Statistics, the sector contributed 19.54 percent in Q2, compared to 18.44 percent in the same quarter of 2022.
“This growth is a result of the number of digital literacy in the economy; many Nigerians have been empowered with digital knowledge, especially on broadband penetration,” Ajibola Olude, executive secretary of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria, said.
“The industry has also increased its service in the rural areas; this means that technology is gradually advancing to the low and untented environment in the economy,” he said.
Other experts said Nigeria has not done badly in technology if the success of the telecoms sector is anything to go by. But the argument has been that the country is still operating below its capacity, especially when smaller countries, including Rwanda, Botswana and Mauritius appear to be dictating the pace on the continent.
As such, unlocking the enormous potential of the country’s ICT sector, according to analysts, requires a major shift from the normal.
Earlier this year, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said the number of Nigerians without access to telecommunication services fell by 37.04 percent to 27 million in 2022.
It noted that the number of identified clusters in the country without access to telecoms fell to 53.1 percent as of the end of the year.
“We have worked tirelessly to ensure we bring telecom services to people living in rural, unserved, and underserved areas of this country, totaling 37 million people, courtesy of the consultancy that was conducted in 2013,” Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman and chief executive officer of NCC, said.
“By 2022, we have reduced the clusters of access gaps to 97 from 207 in 2013. The number of Nigerians again has come down from 37 million in 2013 to 27 million as we speak,” he added.
Chris Uwaje, chairman of Mobile Software Nigeria, said available records showed that the nation’s ICT ecosystem is still performing below global expectations of its endowed creative capabilities and innovative capability.
He said the above is worthy of note within the context of the need to ensure that the nation focuses on its core competencies in pursuit of its objectives to attain the digital promise.
“And above all, that software is the central pillar of the nation’s digital innovation and core commerce. This fact remains indisputable. But Software Nigeria is still at a crawling stage. Alarmingly Nigeria is yet to establish a specialised Software Engineering Institute, which represents the backbone of digital innovation and transformation,” Uwaje said.