The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy (Nigeria), Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has commended the World Bank for its role in facilitating capacity building in the sector.
The Minister, who addressed participants during a virtual interaction where he served as the Special Guest of Honour, expressed satisfaction that the partnership between the Ministry and the financial apex body was yielding the desired results as the training on Innovative Business Models for Expanding Broadband and Closing Access Gaps, was already underway.
Dr Pantami also disclosed that the training which will subsequently include the public and private sectors, as well as the Academia and professional bodies, is an initiative of the Ministry and the World Bank aimed at strengthening Digital capacities in the sector, specifically in the area of broadband improvement and access.
Lead Facilitator of the programme and World Bank Global Broadband Specialist, Doyle Galleops expressed immense gratitude to the Minister for the partnership and the opportunity to facilitate the project.
It will be recalled that the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy had, in December 2020 initiated the strategy in partnership with the World Bank.
The Minister further spoke about the Ministry’s commitment towards achieving the new National Broadband Plan.
The Plan, he reiterates, targets the deployment of nationwide fibre coverage to reach all State Capitals, and a point of presence in at least 90% of Local Government Headquarters.
In a nutshell, the Plan is aimed at the significant reduction of access gaps through the expansion of broadband access across the country.
“As at the time we commenced the process of drafting a new broadband plan to replace the expired plan, our broadband penetration in the country was just over 33%. As a result of the implementation of the new plan, this broadband penetration has significantly increased to 45.07%, as of November 2020. Much as these figures are impressive, we will not rest on our oars and will keep implementing initiatives to increase the broadband coverage in line with our Plan”.
Speaking on the importance of broadband, Pantami said, “Broadband has often been referred to as a key enabler of economic growth in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. According to a report by Ericsson titled “How Important Are Mobile Broadband Networks for Global Economic Development”, 10% increase in mobile broadband penetration results in approximately 0.6% to 2.8% rise in gross domestic product (GDP).
“Broadband supports the development of the digital economy and a focus on growing the National Digital Economy will also improve the nation’s traditional economy. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the contribution of ICT to the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria rose to 17.83% in the 2nd Quarter of 2020. This was unprecedented and it reflects how much of an impact technology, including broadband, can have on the economy if channelled properly. The contribution of the digital economy would even be much higher when we add the contribution of digital services to the GDP.
“The growth that results from affordable and reliable broadband will enable us get a slice of the Global Digital Economy, which Oxford Economics valued at $11.5 trillion dollars as at 2016, or approximately 16% of the Global Economy. This value is expected to grow significantly over the coming years.
“The World Economic Forum predicts that over 60% of global GDP will be digitized by 2022 and that over the next decade, digital platforms will be used to create close to 70% of new value. Most nations are prioritizing the need to develop their digital economies because they realize the multiplier effect that this can have on all other sectors of the economy.
Innovative Business Models for Closing the Internet Access Gap in Nigeria
“We started discussions with the World Bank team regarding the delivery of this training in December 2020. I then approved the participation of members of the Broadband Implementation Steering Committee (BISC), members of the Project Management Office, staff of the parastatals under the Ministry and our stakeholders. I am delighted to note that close to 60 people will be participating in this training, many of whom have already received their certificates for completing the online self-paced training”, the Minister said.