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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

ICT4D: Connectivity Scorecard ranks Nigeria low

Despite the prophesied growth in the telecommunications sector in the last decade, the latest Connectivity Scorecard has ranked Nigeria low on infrastructure utilization for Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D).

Nigeria scored 23 over 50 countries that took part in the study.

The study commissioned by Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) was created by the Dean, Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary, Prof. Leonard Waverman, and was conducted under by consulting firms Berkeley Research Group & Communicea.

Overtly described as landmark global ICT index for the 21st century, the study, ITRealms Online gathered was conducted in 50 countries including Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa and Tunisia.

Other countries were the study was conducted comprised of Austria, Belgium, Czech, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom (UK) and United States to name a few.

In the Connectivity Scorecard, Nigeria was rated 23 among the 50 countries, the position she retained in 2011, while scoring 1.09 per cent, whereas Malaysia ranked number one consecutively for the fourth year with a scorecard of 6.61 per cent in 2011.

Equally, Latin America strong performance, the report said, was in line with relatively high levels of overall economic development, just as Russia and Turkey with relatively high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita also had strong performances, even as South Africa fall from 7th position to 9th in the current year.

The study indicated that China improved to 14th but India unchanged at 21st positions respectively, although both continued to be relatively weak performers.

ITRealms Online gathered that the pattern of scores showed tremendous disparities between countries, except in some areas, with instance of mobile telephony.

The overall development challenges were attributed to the fact these affected ICT performance in Nigeria, according to the study as it retained 23rd position among resource and efficiency-driven economies.

Good mobile phone penetration and competitive fixed-line market as well as strong demand for internet services and broadband capabilities, the study said, did not make big difference as most industry analyst would expect.

However, the study anticipated that Nigeria had some areas of improvement, namely the broadband service, literacy rates, business infrastructure and ICT utilization in business and public sectors.

In Africa, Tunisia led the continent with 2.29 per cent scorecard and moved up the ladder from 12 to 13 positions respectively during the year under review.

Nigeria, the 2011 Connectivity Scorecard findings indicated, has a talented and well-educated pool of human resources as well as tremendous potential for growth in the telecommunications industry, but from an infrastructure point-of-view, Nigeria has a long way to go before the country could match the best performer in the African continent, South Africa or Malaysia, the leader in the ‘Resource and Efficiency Driven economies.’

However, the future was said to be bright as the key players in the Nigerian market like MTN and Bharti Airtel are investing in developing robust mobile networks.

Commenting on this, the country manager, Nokia Siemens Network for Nigeria, Mr. Ralph Udeogu, said they are optimistic in the Nigerian market.

“They, the operators, as well as us, the infrastructure service providers, see the huge potential in this market, where the mobile penetration rate has grown from 49 per cent in 2009 to 57 per cent in 2010. And this rate is expected to grow to 82 per cent in 2015,” he said.

He went on to say that the introduction of smartphones and other mobile devices like the iPad as well as a change in usage trends where consumers want to surf the Internet, access social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, playing online mobile games and stream their favorite videos.

“These have changed the landscape of the mobile world. Consumers not only want perfect voice quality but also affordable data services,” he submitted.

Remmy Nweke

ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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