Ms Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, says government plans to diversify the economy from oil and create more jobs requires Information and Communication Technology (ICT) penetration across Nigeria.
She said this at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)-Telecom World 2016, which featured sessions on collaborative regulation, smart sustainable cities, fostering SME innovation, gender inclusive development and digital financial services for financial inclusion.
Opeke, who noted that most regions of the country are still underserved in terms of ICT deployment said, “Availability of broadband infrastructure across all regions of Nigeria, and the technology adoption this will facilitate, will greatly accelerate the pace of development in Nigeria, facilitate increased non-oil trade, enhance the digital economy, improve public access to education, health and other social services and aid job creation.”
Held in Bangkok, Thailand, the theme of this year’s edition was “Collaboration in the Digital Economy”. Nigeria’s participation at the conference was put together by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and led by Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Alhaji Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, Adebayo Shittu, Minister of Communications and Funke Opeke, MainOne CEO.
Opeke described the telecoms infrastructure gaps in the country and the opportunities available for investment, citing an example with the government-assisted Infrastructure Company (Infraco) project, where MainOne is licensee for Lagos State.
Disclosing that licensees for five other regions of the country are currently available for bid, Opeke stated that the Infraco project aims to expand broadband penetration from the current 20 percent to over 30 percent targeted in the National Broadband Plan for 2018.
She further highlighted the tremendous potential Nigeria’s ICT industry offers to investment, underlining Nigeria’s 80 Million internet users, the growing population of Smartphone users, and the country’s over 100 percent voice penetration.
Speaking during the panel session on “Smart Communities as the key to a Digital Nigeria”, EVC of NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta talked about the opportunities for investment in Nigeria, aided by flexible regulatory policies.
Also at the conference, Nigeria’s government and private sectors made a pitch to foreign investors where they presented the country’s developments in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) opportunities for future investment.