Nigeria has been ranked 137th out of 175 countries on the ICT Development Index (IDI) for 2016 that information and communication technology (ICT) growth across the world.
The International Communication Union (ITU), the UN specialised agency that coordinates the global ICT sector announced the release of the ICT Development Index in its annual Measuring the Information Society Report that was released this week.
The ICT Development Index (IDI) is a composite index that combines 11 indicators into one benchmark measure that can be used to monitor and compare developments in information and communication technology (ICT) between countries and over time, according to ITU.
Despite the increase in its IDI value, Nigeria however is ranked one step below its regional ranking at 13th position in 2015 and remains 137th position in its global IDI ranking.
Despite the increase in its IDI value, Nigeria however is ranked one step below its regional ranking at 13th position in 2015 and remains 137th position in its global IDI ranking. Mauritius, Seychelles and South Africa were ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd position with IDI values of 5.27, 4.77, and 4.70 respectively.
According to the ITU report, the biggest improvements in IDI values in the Africa were made by Côte d’Ivoire (up 0.44 points, lifting it out of the least connected country), Namibia (0.43 points), Botswana (0.38 points), Cape Verde (0.37 points) and Rwanda and South Africa (each 0.34 points).
The ITU report reveals that all the 39 African countries that the report covers show some improvement in the area of ICT development between 2015 and 2016, although in 11 countries, this improvement was marginal (less than 0.10 points).
The ten countries at the top of the African rankings achieved an average improvement in their IDI values of 0.33 points, well above the global average of 0.20, while the remaining countries in the region, all of which are in the least connected country (LCC) quartile, managed an average improvement of just 0.14 points.
Conversely, Nigeria and some other developing countries are ranked higher in the area of ICT use than in the area of accessibility.
Authors of the report says this imbalance in ICT use and access suggests that strong demand for services is not currently matched by adequate high-quality infrastructure, and that policy interventions to stimulate the supply side of the market may be required.
Africa currently lags behind other regions of the world in ICT development, according to the report.
The report also underscores the importance of addressing the Africa’s ongoing digital divide and also reveals that “Africa region registers by far the lowest regional IDI performance with an average IDI value of 2.48 points, just over half the global average of 4.94.”
Majority of the 39 African countries which the report covers are least connected countries (LCCs) and this reflects the lower level of economic development in the region, which inhibits ICT development, while 29 out of the 39 African countries in the Index rank as LCCs in the lowest quartile of the distribution.
The report also observes that although a number of African Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are not included in the Index, it is likely that at least some of these countries not covered by the report would also have IDI values within the lowest quartile if data were available.
Only three countries in the Africa region which includes the Indian Ocean island states of Mauritius and Seychelles, together with South Africa, fall into the two upper quartiles of the IDI distribution or exceed the global average value in IDI 2016, while only these three countries and two other countries which are Cape Verde and Botswana exceed the average value of 4.07 for developing countries, according to the ITU report.
Africa however achieved the highest growth in the number of mobile-cellular subscriptions, in contrast to other regions, in which the number of mobile broadband subscriptions experienced the highest growth. Across the Africa region as a whole, the indicators making up the IDI which showed the greatest improvement were mobile-cellular penetration and mobile-broadband penetration, the report states.