Nigeria Ranks 4th in Africa, Retains 19th Place for Global Internet Accessibility – Business – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

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. Pantami and Danbatta secure FG’s plans to close broadband infrastructure gap

The 2021 Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) report on the Affordability Factors Index (ADI) ranked Nigeria 19th out of 72 countries surveyed for Internet accessibility in 2021. Nigeria was however fourth in Africa.

A4AI Nigeria scored 68.71 out of 100 in terms of policy, infrastructure and how people can access the internet in the country. In Africa, Nigeria is the fourth country with the most affordable Internet, behind Morocco, Botswana and Mauritius, which rank 9th, 13th and 18th globally in that order.

Painfully, the report showed that Nigeria did not move up the ranks, but instead maintained the 19th position it occupied in 2020, albeit with a lower score of 66.19.

A4AI, which said high ADI scores correlated with lower Internet costs on both the industry and consumer side, noted that ADI rates countries in two main groups of policies on the extent to which Internet infrastructure has been deployed, as well as the policy framework in place to encourage future infrastructure expansion; and current broadband adoption rates, as well as the policy framework in place to enable equitable access.

“High ADI scores correlate with reduced broadband costs both on the industry side and for consumers. As shown in the figure, there is a positive and statistically significant correlation between a country’s ADI score and the affordability of a 1GB prepaid mobile broadband plan – reaffirming that improving policies and regulations to reduce Industry costs should be a priority for all, and especially for low- and middle-income countries, ”the organization said in the report.

He added that the ADI tool was developed to assess the extent to which the policy, regulation and the overall environment on the supply side of a country are helping to reduce industry costs and ultimately account, to create more affordable broadband. “In particular, policy makers and relevant stakeholders can use this tool to identify areas where progress is most needed,” he said.

Other countries listed as having made progress in the affordability assessment include Moldova, Morocco, Botswana, Iraq, Libya, Maldives, Nauru and Mongolia.

According to the report, the global median price of entry-level mobile broadband services in 2020 fell within this target, to 1.7%. However, the median price for entry-level fixed broadband services, i.e. at least 5 GB, was significantly above target, at 2.9% of GNI per capita.
Meanwhile, the ongoing policy directions and regulatory measures put in place by the Nigerian government to address the identified broadband infrastructure gaps will be maintained to facilitate increased Internet access by citizens across the country. .

Communications and Digital Economy Minister Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami and Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Executive Vice President Prof Umar Garba Danbatta gave the assurance in their presentations at the the recent virtual governance of the Internet in Africa. Forum 2021 (vAFIGF2021).

The annual three-day forum, which was held in person and virtually, was organized under the theme: “Advancing Africa’s Digital Transformation in the Face of Crisis”, and hosted by the Nigerian government. Many actors from the African Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem attended the forum.

Pantami, who was represented at the forum by a director of NCC, who is also the minister’s adviser on technical matters, Professor Sahalu Balarabe Junaidu, said the forum’s aim was to harness digital technology and innovation, transform societies and economies, and eradicate poverty for the social and economic development of the continent.

The minister said that with the challenges posed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for internet services has increased dramatically. He called on African citizens to access broadband / internet services to accomplish their personal and official tasks more effectively and efficiently.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the increased need to embrace digital culture. So, as Africans, one of the ways we can respond to the challenge posed by the pandemic is to accelerate our digital transformation, ”he said.

Pantami explained that the digital transformation strategy for Africa should be built on key fundamental pillars that include an enabling environment, policy regulation, digital infrastructure, digital skills and human capacities, as well as digital innovation and entrepreneurship.

He said critical sectors such as digital commerce and financial services, digital government, digital education, digital health and digital agriculture, also highlight the pillars of transformation. In addition, he said that the drivers of digital transformation include digital content and applications, digital identification, emerging technologies, cybersecurity, protection of privacy and personal data, as well as research and development. development.

Pantami recalled that the use of the Internet in sub-Saharan Africa is still not encouraging, according to a report from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank. However, the minister said Nigeria, with its current over 140 million internet users, has one of the largest subscriptions in the sub-region.

The Minister said that the various policies, including the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020-2030) and the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025, put in place to address the related challenges infrastructure and improving the country’s migration to a more robust digital economy will also ensure that more citizens can access the Internet in the years to come.

He mentioned the recent successful auction of the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum band for the scheduled deployment of fifth generation (5G) networks as another important policy and strategic step taken by the Nigerian government to boost the broadband penetration in the country.

Meanwhile, the Director of New Media and Information Security, NCC, Dr Al-Hassan Haru, who represented Danbatta at the forum, reiterated the Commission’s commitment to ensure broadband penetration by boosting the continued deployment of broadband infrastructure. He said the Commission was well placed to guide government policy to tackle the digital infrastructure deficit in the telecommunications sector, as well as to explore options needed to improve the country’s digital ecosystem.

“The future is digital and we must commit to supporting and collaborating with African countries to maximize the opportunities inherent in digital technologies. We must also be prepared to avoid pitfalls by instituting appropriate regulations as we do at NCC, ”he added.

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