Policy reforms will unlock Nigerian economy; connect 55% population by 2025 – Report

The Global Systems for Mobile Association (GSMA) says policy reforms in the Nigerian telecom sector will unlock economic growth in Nigeria and lead to connection of 55 percent of Nigerian by 2025.

The global body said in a report released on Thursday that the reform will also unlock jobs and opportunities for social development.

The report which was a “Spotlight on Nigeria titled: Delivering a Digital Future”, was launched at a GSMA industry event held in conjunction with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

According to the report, modernising regulation and policy reform will be crucial to boosting Nigeria’s digital economy and accelerating internet access for millions through increased mobile broadband penetration.

The event brought together leaders from across the mobile industry with policymakers to discuss future regulation and how to enable the next-generation of 5G connectivity.

The Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA, Akinwale Goodluck, said, “Mobile connectivity has already improved the welfare of millions of Nigerians, opening the door to new digital possibilities and powering the country’s economic development.

“For Nigeria to take full advantage of the next phase of its digital transformation, it’s vital that collaboration between industry and government enables the right policy environment for millions more to benefit from ultra-fast mobile broadband. If policies don’t keep pace with the needs of society and technological innovation, there is a risk that citizens will be left behind and productivity and competitiveness will suffer.”

Speaking on the report, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Office (EVC/CEO), NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said, “In the world we live in today, mobile communication is a cardinal tool of economic development, growth and integration, and the mobile industry is a key enabler of productivity across economies and societies.”

“The mobile industry is not only a significant contributor to the economic activities of Nigeria, but also towards the growth of other sectors of the economy. The Nigerian Communications Commission has been, and continues to play a key role in the development of mobile communication in Nigeria, and I am delighted to be part of this event today. This provides and avenue for regulators, operators, investors, and other relevant stakeholders to examine, share and constructively exchange ideas.”

Mobile’s Contribution to Economic Growth GSMA research shows that the mobile market in Nigeria makes an important contribution to the economy.

The mobile industry contributed $21 billion to GDP in 2017, representing 5.5 per cent of Nigeria’s total GDP. In addition, the growth of Nigeria’s digital economy resulted in the creation of nearly 500,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Accelerating Mobile Broadband Adoption Growth in the adoption of digital services by government, businesses and consumers is having a positive impact on daily life in Nigeria.

For the majority of Nigerians, mobile broadband is the first and only technology for accessing the internet, enabling better access to health, education and commercial opportunities, amongst other public services.

Smartphone adoption has already risen to over 53 million connections, and 49 per cent of the population are currently connected by mobile technology, compared to less than one per cent who have a fixed-line connection.

However, the report concludes that there is still broad scope for Nigeria to increase its mobile penetration.

Although more Nigerians are getting access to mobile broadband, the country lags regional peers in 4G adoption.

Helping to accelerate adoption would enable more advanced services and create bigger societal impacts.

With increased spectrum harmonisation and licensing reform, the country’s mobile penetration is forecast to rise to 55 per cent of the population by 2025, with 70 per cent having 3G connectivity and 17 per cent having access to 4G networks.

Currently, only 44 per cent of mobile subscribers in Nigeria are using 3G technology and 4 per cent are using 4G technology, compared to over 18 per cent 4G penetration in South Africa and 16 per cent in Angola.

Credit: Vanguard