Emerging Technology Forum for the telecommunications Industry: Contextualizing the Network Readiness Index for the Nigerian telecommunications industry
By Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta
In recent years, the Nigerian telecommunications industry has embarked on a remarkable growth trajectory, solidifying its position as an engine of economic growth. The enhancement of digital access and the expansion of our networks have left an indelible impact on the lives of our citizens. While we celebrate these accomplishments, we are keenly aware that our dynamic society requires even higher connectivity, reliability, and accessibility standards. The surge in data utilisation, the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT), the advent of artificial intelligence, and the emergence of cutting-edge technologies highlight the urgent need for ongoing network surveillance and expansion.
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To navigate this era of transformation, we must embrace innovation, make strategic investments, and cultivate a growth-friendly ecosystem.
This platform is our gateway to innovative and disruptive solutions that can positively transform our industry. By engaging in conversations about new technologies, collaborating with global best practices and subject-matter experts, and pooling our insights, we open the door to unimaginable future possibilities. Let us grasp this opportunity to investigate emerging technologies, envisage their potential applications, and determine how they can be leveraged to solve our specific challenges.
Let me get down to the substance of the forum by stating the problem at hand:
The global data collected by the NRI team reveals that digital transformation is a global imperative in order to maximize the social and economic effects of the digital era. It can create new inequalities which can hinder the ability of younger generations to engage in the digital economy, but also remains a powerful way to do more with less at all levels of income. Formal education is evolving, and metrics are important to support informed policymaking. This requires reskilling and upskilling opportunities to be available, accessible, and affordable in order to have more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies.
Nigeria is a telecommunications powerhouse, with 82% of the continent’s telecom subscribers and 29% of the continent’s internet consumption. Our nation rates eleventh globally in terms of internet penetration and seventh in terms of mobile phone usage. Despite these remarkable metrics, the fact that our Network Readiness Index (NRI) ranking for 2022 is 109th out of 131 countries is both humbling and challenging?
The NRI is a guiding metric that measures the role and impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It explores the performances of 131 economies in four key categories: technology (infrastructure), governance, people, and impact. As agents of social and economic transformation in our nation, prioritizing network readiness is not only a strategic necessity but a mandate.
Throughout our deliberations, we will engage in thought-provoking forum discussions that explore the foundational pillars of NRI, through a number of presentations by renowned professionals in the technology landscape.
As we convene here today, the innovation symphony resonates with our common goals. The Emerging Technology Forum acts as a beacon, directing us towards the intersection of transformation and advancement. This forum is where we bridge the divide between aspiration and achievement. Through spirited dialogues, collaborative exchanges, and the exploration of emerging technologies, we move closer to our vision of a fully interconnected, telecommunications-driven Nigeria.
In conclusion, I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to each of you for your unwavering commitment, your unrelenting pursuit of progress, and your unwavering faith in the potential of our industry. Let us travel together, propelled by innovation, strengthened by collaboration, and united by the promise of a more prosperous digital future for Nigeria.
Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta. FAEng, FNSE, FIEEE, FRAES is the Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NC)