Group decries Nigeria’s poor ranking on ICT development index
• Calls for state of emergency on sector
Broadband 2018 Coalition has expressed deep concerns over Nigeria’s poor ranking on the latest Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Development Index (IDI), published in the yearly, “Measuring the Information Society Report (MISR)” by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
In the latest report, Nigeria was rated 143rd globally, a significant downward shift from its 137th position in 2016.
On the African index, Nigeria placed 15th behind countries like Mauritius, South Africa, Kenya, Gabon, Ghana, Zimbabwe and even Cote d’Ivoire.
The IDI is a composite measure that combines 11 indicators into one benchmark index to monitor and compare ICT developments between 176 countries across the world.
The three-dimension frameworks used to measure the IDI are, Access (level of ICT readiness, which includes five infrastructure and access indicators: fixed-telephone subscriptions, mobile-cellular telephone subscriptions, international Internet bandwidth per Internet user, households with a computer, and households with Internet access).
Others are Use (level of ICT intensity, which includes three intensity and usage indicators: individuals using the Internet, fixed broadband subscriptions, and mobile-broadband subscriptions) and Skills (Capabilities or skills, which are important for ICTs and include three proxy indicators: mean years of schooling, gross secondary enrolment, and gross tertiary enrolment).
Expressing shock at the development, the coalition convener and technology expert, Danjuma Yusuf, pointed that Nigeria’s technology landscape needed urgent intervention given its sharp stagnation and decline in recent years.
He tasked the Federal and State Governments and other relevant regulatory agencies, to quickly focus on strategies that would increase the country’s global competitiveness in ICT.
According to Yusuf, Nigeria has become an object of ridicule on global ICT rankings, been bested by countries with much lower Gross Domestic Product. He mentioned that with direct connections to 5 submarine cables, Nigeria has no excuse for not leading the African index ahead of South Africa (with four submarine cables), Zimbabwe and Gabon with TWO cables each, and urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in Nigeria’s ICT sector.
Yusuf cited Kenya as example, which also launched its Broadband Policy in 2013, but is currently leading Africa in internet penetration with over 30 million people having (67 per cent) Internet access according to the Jumia Business Intelligence, and GSMA ‘White Paper 2017: Trends from the Kenyan Smartphone and eCommerce Industry’.
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