In an era driven by digital advancements, Nigeria has emerged as a prominent player in the African internet landscape. With a population of over 200 million people, the country has experienced a rapid expansion of its internet and corresponding infrastructure, paving the way for unprecedented opportunities and growth. From increased internet penetration to the development of broadband connectivity, Nigeria has made significant strides in shaping its digital future.

Internet Connectivity and Challenges

Nigeria's internet connectivity has transcended geographical barriers, connecting individuals, businesses, and institutions across bustling urban centers and remote rural communities. However, the country still faces challenges such as infrastructure limitations and the digital divide. By 2025, it is estimated that 70% of Nigeria will have 3G mobile broadband coverage, while 4G connection coverage may reach 17%. Smartphones and tablets are the most common devices used for internet access in Nigeria, with a penetration rate of approximately 73%.

ICT Strategy in Nigeria

To promote the development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) within the country, Nigeria has implemented various strategies and initiatives:

  • National ICT Policy: Nigeria has formulated a National ICT Policy that provides a comprehensive framework for developing and deploying ICT in the country. The policy aims to leverage ICT to drive economic growth, improve governance, enhance public service delivery and promote digital inclusion.
  • Infrastructure Development: Recognizing the importance of robust ICT infrastructure, Nigeria has focused on improving broadband connectivity and expanding nationwide network coverage. Initiatives like the National Broadband Plan and the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) project aim to enhance communication services through satellite technology.
  • Digital Inclusion and Skills Development: Nigeria aims to bridge the digital divide by promoting digital literacy and skills development. Initiatives like the Digital Literacy and Skills Pillar of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy aim to equip Nigerians with the necessary skills to participate in the digital economy. This involves the training and empowerment of youth, entrepreneurs and vulnerable groups in digital technologies.
  • E-Government: Nigeria is working towards improving government services through the use of ICT. The implementation of e-government initiatives aims to enhance efficiency, transparency, and accountability in public service delivery. Projects like the National Identity Management System (NIMS) and the Treasury Single Account (TSA) have been implemented to streamline processes and improve service delivery.
  • Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Nigeria recognizes the potential of ICT in driving innovation and entrepreneurship. Initiatives such as the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support Scheme (TIESS) provide support, funding, and capacity building for ICT startups and entrepreneurs. Incubation centers and technology hubs have also emerged across the country to foster collaboration and innovation.
  • Cybersecurity: Nigeria acknowledges the importance of cybersecurity in the digital age and has made efforts to strengthen cybersecurity frameworks and establish agencies responsible for managing and mitigating cyber threats. The National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy and the National Computer Emergency Response Team (ngCERT) are examples of initiatives aimed at safeguarding Nigeria's ICT infrastructure and protecting against cyber threats.

Internet Usage in Nigeria: Statistics and Trends

Nigeria stands out as one of the leading countries in Africa with well-established internet freedom. When assessing the obstacles to access, the limits on content and the violations of user rights, Nigeria ranks fifth in Sub-Saharan Africa, just a slight decline from its previous position. With a young and sizeable population, Nigeria boasts a significant internet audience. Despite just a 51% internet penetration rate, the number of internet users in the country reaches approximately 109 million. Notably, Nigeria exhibits a remarkable reliance on mobile internet, which generates over 84% of its internet traffic. However, this high mobile internet usage might also indicate a lack of adequate equipment to fully leverage the internet and all it has to offer.

  • Internet Service Providers and Pricing

Spectranet, an Indian company, dominates the internet service provider market in Nigeria, serving nearly 261,000 active users. As for mobile internet, MTN, a South African company, emerges as Nigeria's primary operator with over 65 million internet subscribers. MTN also operates in mobile payments, a sector authorized by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Other key players in the mobile internet space include Lagos-based Globacom, Nigerian company 9mobile and Indian provider Airtel. When it comes to pricing, Nigeria ranks among the top 60 countries out of 228 worldwide, indicating favorable affordability for mobile data and offering significantly lower costs than other African nations.

  • Social Media Usage in Nigeria

Given Nigeria's high mobile internet penetration and significant smartphone ownership rates, it represents a lucrative market for social media platforms. As of 2022, Nigeria had approximately 33 million social media users, with the most popular platforms being WhatsApp and Facebook, followed by Instagram and Facebook Messenger. It comes as no surprise that young adults constitute the largest share of social media users in the country. Notably, there exists a gender disparity in internet usage demographics. Analyzing online advertising data reveals a noticeably higher male audience share across all age groups, with some age ranges showing as many as twice the number of male social media users compared to females.

By focusing on these various aspects, Nigeria continues to shape its digital landscape. The nation remains committed to harnessing the potential of ICT for economic growth, innovation and connectivity while addressing challenges and promoting inclusivity well into the future.

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