The executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, has revealed that total investments in the Nigeria telecom industry stood at $70 billion in 2018.
He made this known at the opening ceremony of the 7th Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition 2019 with the theme: “Africa’s Tech Renaissance: Positioning Africa for the Age of Abundance,” yesterday in Abuja, saying the sector contributed 9.85 per cent to the nations GDP at the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2018, adding that figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicated it contributed about N1.9 trillion in the same quarter.
Danbatta represented by the Commission’s director of projects department, Mrs Abigail Sholanke, urged Africa to facilitate deeper access to telecoms and ICT services in general, especially broadband, in a way that such access translates to increased prosperity and better well-being for African people.
In his remarks, the Digital Africa chairman, Dr. Evans Woherem, said the choice of the theme was to prepare Africa for the age of abundance, stressing the need for the continent to take advantage the upcoming Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
“Currently, thanks to the exponential growth rate f technologies such as AI, big data, robotics, virtual and augmented realities, cloud computing, blockchain, machine learning etc. we are teetering on the edge of a much better tomorrow.
“Africa needs to be part of the 4 IR since we missed out on the previous great leaps in human innovation. It is time for Africa to make the right choices in order to also be able to create and enjoy abundance here in Africa and be truly a part of the world,” he added.
Earlier, the director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Isa Pantami, said the theme of this year’s conference was very apt because all developed nations were no longer talking of mineral resources but data.
“Most of the developed nation’ today are talking about digitalisation, utilising data as the new oil. That is why you see that the leading company’s today in the world are not in any way natural resources company but data and digital companies.
“Developing nations are moving from natural based resources to a knowledge-based, digital-based and the earlier we realise that in Nigeria and Africa would be better for us,” he said.