Nigeria's NRI low despite being the powerhouse of telecommunications in Africa —Danbatta


By Williams Ago

Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Telecommunications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, has decried Nigeria's low ranking in the Network Readiness Index (NRI) despite accounting for 82 per cent of Africa's telecoms subscribers.

Danbatta stated this at the commencement of a two day meeting on emerging technology and forum for telecommunication industry, focusing on examining the issues of improving Nigeria's ranking on the global Network Readiness Index (NRI). 

Represented on the occasion which took place inside the auditorium of the NCC's Communucations & Digital Economy Complex, Mbora District, Abuja, by the Commission's Director of Spectrum Administration, Engineer Oshadami, Danbatta said, "Nigeria is a telecommunication powerhouse with 82% of the continent's internet consumption."

According to him, "Our rates 11th globally in terms of internet penetration and seventh in terms of mobile phone usage. Despite those remarkable metrics, the fact that our Network Readiness Index (NRI) ranking for 2022 is 109th out of 131 countries is both humbling and challenging.”

He said, the NRI is a guiding metric that measures the role and impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), adding that it explores the performance of 131 economies in four key categories, namely: Technology (infrastructure), Governance, People and Impact. 

He also stated that as agents of social and economic transformation in Nigeria prioritizing network readiness is not only a strategic necessity but a mandate.

"Throughout our celebrations, we will engage in thought provoking forum discussions that explore the fundamental pillars of NRI, through a number of presentations by renowned professionals in the technology landscape,” he told tasked the participants at the forum.

Earlier in his welcoming remarks, Engineer (Dr) Chidi Diugwu, head, new media and information security department of the NCC, said, Nigeria's performance on the NRI index from 2020 to 2022 as reported by the Potulans Institute, indicates a mixture of improvements and challenges that will persist.

He added that, "applying NRI in the Telecommunication Industry is of paramount importance in our current digital ecosystem. Utilizing the insights it brings allows us to amplify our strength, address our challenges and propel our nation into brighter digital future".

Giving an introductory remarks, Executive Commissioner, technical services, Engineer Ubale A Maska, said, the primary objective of the forum is to provide standard roadmaps and best practices which can be used to measure the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on our society and promote the adoption of new technologies.

"We will review the latest findings of Nigeria's NRI, explore various barriers and key drivers to the implementation of innovative technologies and ultimately create actionable solutions to help move the industry forward", he disclosed.

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