Information Communication Technology

The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) mainly consist of telecommunications and Information Technology. The sector is Nigeria’s fastest growing industry.  In 2012 the sector contributed an estimated at 6.73% to the GDP and by 2016 the contribution had risen to 9.8 percent. Total investment in the sector in 2016 was estimated at $68 billion, compared to the value of the industry in 2001, (when the government liberalized the telecommunications sector), which stood at mere $50 million.  This astronomical growth is a clear testimony of how viable the industry is within the Nigerian economy.

In recent years, Nigeria has been recognized as the fastest growing mobile market in Africa and one of the fastest in the world. Prior to the deregulation of the sector in 2001, Nigeria only had a capacity of 400,000 fixed telephone lines operated by the national communications carrier NITEL. Today’s telecommunications landscape is characterized by a fully liberalized telecom market, with Government’s role restricted to policy formulation and sector regulation. According to the federal telecoms regulator (NCC), by July 2016, the country was home to 150.3m active telecoms subscribers 

Access to telecommunication in Nigeria is a paradox with mobile telephony experiencing huge growth while the fixed sector has not had much growth and rather experienced huge decline. The penetration of fixed telephony is a meagre 65,914 households down from the capacity of 400,000 lines that were available before deregulation, equivalent to 0.3% of total households in the country.  

On the other hand, the growing access to internet in Nigeria and the advent of Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM) based commercial and social activities driven is enjoying significant demand. Before deregulation of the sector in 2001, development in the IT sector of Nigeria was minimal. Regular internet users were less than 200,000 out of a population of over One Hundred and Twenty Million. Upon deregulation of the sector, Internet usage has increased. At the same time, computer penetration is limited and fixed household internet is rare. The RIA Nigeria ICT Survey (2012) found that only 3.4% of, (or 747,025) households have a fixed internet connection, and 62% of internet users go online mainly by use of their mobile phone. Analysts project that the Nigerian PC market, which is still in its infancy, is expected to expand by 21.5% annually with a notable shift towards mobility which would increase laptop and other mobile PC sales. The hardware market in Nigeria is shared between multinationals and about five local Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Approximately 90% of the software used in Nigeria is currently being imported. However, efforts are being made to encourage the patronage of “Made in Nigeria Software” to save the country from the huge foreign exchange being expended on foreign software annually. The country was said to have 23.1 million smartphones in 2015, a figure projected to increase to 34 million in 2018. This huge growth is being driven by the availability of broadband. Another factor driving adoption is investment in 3G, and more recently LTE, coverage and capacity. A third factor is that, smartphones are becoming more affordable and complemented by the need of the people to be connected. Nigeria ranks extremely high in terms of social media trends and activity.  

ICT Contribution to GDP
Contribution of ICT to GDP in 2011 5.46%
Contribution of ICT to GDP in 2014 11.60%
Contribution of ICT to GDP in 2016 9.8%
Estimated size of job market 4.8m

GEM will support improve infrastructure, provision of skills, and addressing regulatory. The overall objective is to address the constraints that hinder the sector’s growth. GEM will focus on issues that facilitate industry growth. GEMS will work on ICT clusters in all states of the federation.  The project will support: a) An improved enabling business environment for IT and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) b) Invest in development of ICT infrastructure; including IT parks and broadband connectivity c) Development of ICT and entrepreneurial capacity within public and private institutions through training, development grants, technical assistance and facilitating creation of a network of IT businesses d) Development of the local IT industry through improved market information services, market research, promotional activities and technical support to the Outsourcing Development Initiative of Nigeria (ODIN). Direct beneficiaries will include ICT firms, employees – current and potential, and consumers (including businesses and public sector institutions. 

Currently, the project is supporting initiatives in this sector that are part of the Federal Government’s strategic development activities, including support to established Innovation Hubs and Full Stack and Web Software development training.

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