In the last 15 years, Nigeria has been participating in the ITU Telecom World event; however, the Country had its first National Pavilion in 2004 where ICT/ Telecom Stakeholders were Pavilion Partners, and in 2011ITU Telecom World in Geneva, Switzerland, Nigeria announced its Broadband Initiatives to the Global World.
This year, because of Nigeria’s Broadband initiative; aimed at rapidly changing lives and approach to businesses through increased efficiency and attracting investment, the ITU Telecom World event is on a different note.
The Nigerian Communications Commission took the campaign for Broadband investment to ITU Telecom World 2012, Dubai, UAE in order to attract investors in the Broadband deployment across the country.
At the event, Omobola Johnson, Minister of Communication Technology, recommended basic connectivity, affordable access devices and service plans for greater inclusion of Nigerian women in the knowledge-based economy driven by ICTs just like their counterparts cross the globe.
She made this recommendation at the Ministerial Roundtable discussion on “The Importance of Women in ICT”
According to her, “reaching women through ICT demands basic connectivity, affordable access devices and service plans and encouraging adoption by making ICT relevant to women’s live through applications in health, literacy and economic empowerment.”
Also, at the event, the indigenous computer manufacturing company, Zinox, got the attention of the government.
The Vice president Nnamadi Sambo, upon learning that some of the products on display, the Zinox Smart and the Smart Convertible, both of them entry level notebooks, cost less than N50,000 and were specifically designed for pupils and students, said the federal government would partner with state governments to see how the computers could be adopted in schools nationwide. A very visible interest in the broadband development in Nigeria schools, no doubt. The vice president said the federal government is irrevocably committed to quality education driven by ICT as, according to him, this is one way Nigeria can make bolder impressions in the global technology map.
According to him, the federal government’s commitment to the education of the Nigerian child propelled it to establish nine federal universities and increase funding to the existing ones. Zinox is a multiple award-winning company which has brought more honour to Nigeria in the area of computer design and assembly. It came to Dubai brandishing high-end notebooks including its flagship models of laptops, the Ultrabook range of notebooks, the mid-range laptops (Zinox Legacy and Zinox Pride) as well as the trail-blazing Zinox Bijimi Pro which comes bundled with bull-strength batteries. The company is also the first company in sub-Sahara Africa to obtain the Microsoft Windows Hardware Quality Lab Certification (WHQL) in addition to being the largest Microsoft OEM system builder Partner in West Africa
Executive Vice Chairman, Dr. Eugene Juwah said recently in a gathering, “With widespread deployment of broadband services in Nigeria, the future holds greater prospects for the telecoms industry. This is why we are currently sparing no efforts to achieve a robust deployment of broadband services across the length and breadth of Nigeria.”
While noting that the Commission acknowledged the huge prospects that abound in the availability of affordable and pervasive broadband services in a vast geographical spread such as Nigeria, Juwah said the regulator was interested in bringing broadband access to all citizens a reality in the country.
He said telecoms sector, as evident in the last 12 years of telecoms deregulation, portends much more prospects for the nation in terms of Gross Domestic Product Contribution (GDP).
According to him, everyone is a witness to the greater strides that telecoms sector has helped us to achieve as individuals, and as a nation. We are witnesses to the access which telecoms services have made available with the revolution that has attended the industry in the last decade.
“We have seen how businesses have thrived with the availability of Information and Communication Technology. We are all full of admiration with the huge private sector investments that the industry has witnessed, rising from about $500,000 in 2001 to over $25 billion as at present and how it has transcended to the nation’s economic environment.
“By this, we mean the contributions of telecoms to the economy by way of job opportunities, human capacity development, improved business transactions with associated cost savings and most importantly, its contribution to the nation GDP profile where it has taken over from the financial sector,” he said.
To reiterate the government’s effort in making the dream come true and in align with the United Nations’ campaign that countries should strive to ensure even and rapid penetration of broadband by 2015 through the implementation of national broadband policies, Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated a 14-member broadband committee saddled with responsibility of articulating acceptable definitions and perspectives of broadband and related issues that are current and dynamic for the country
At the inauguration, Communications Technology minister, Mrs. Omobola Johnson stated that the importance of broadband to socio-economic development couldn’t be overemphasised.
Johnson noted that increase in broadband penetration is directly linked to increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). She stressed that empirical evidence shows that 10 per cent penetration in broadband penetration leads to about 1.3 per cent increase in GDP.
According to her, ICT remains a tool that Nigeria can deploy to leapfrog to a digital economy. She informed Nigerians that the Ministry is working hard to change the face of ICTs in Nigeria and the inauguration of the Committee is a reflection of the importance of ICTs to the transformation agenda of President Jonathan.
Chairman of the Committee, Ernest Ndukwe , said that the Committee would work to carry out the task assigned to it speedily and with dedication. He promised that the committee would proffer effective ways to achieve universal digital Inclusion in Nigeria by identifying and suggesting ways to eliminate obstacles to digital inclusion in Nigeria. He added that the committee would also outline an Action Plan to take the issue of digital inclusion into mainstream development plans across all sectors.
The success story is not unnoticed by industry analysts. For example, New analysis from Frost & Sullivan ‘West African Broadband Market Tracker’, covering Nigeria, Cameroun and Cote d’Ivoire, finds that the market earned revenues of $929.9 million in 2009 and estimated this to reach $1.932 billion in 2016.
The research stated that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) still remain the dominant players in the region, except for Nigeria where mobile broadband connections have outpaced fixed broadband connections.
“In comparison to other countries, high investments are made in infrastructure development and broadband services present the highest areas for growth opportunities due to the decline in voice revenues,” the report said.
The analysts said these investments [in undersea cables] would unlock the constraints in the West African telecommunications market and catalyse the economic potential of the region. They stressed that a compelling opportunity exists to lower the restrictive cost of international telecommunications and significantly expand Internet access via submarine cable, which will lead to greater efficiency and more competitive business.