You only have to look around you to realize how crucial Information and Communications Technology has become in the modern world. At the societal level governments around the world are concerned with how best to prepare their citizens so that their society is not left behind culturally or economically by the tidal wave of developments in the field. Bradford Associates Technology practice recently had the opportunity to review Africa’s leading economy in the field of ICT and understand how the administration of Goodluck Jonathan has achieved such success.
The African nation of Nigeria under current President Goodluck Jonathan has been pursuing a number of initiatives which are bearing fruit in terms of improving ICT literacy nationally and preparing the economy to be able to respond to the challenges of inter-connected global commerce.
In 2010, Nigeria launched a five year national strategic plan for ICT development and during the period of its existence mobile telephone penetration has reached a high for the continent to some 75% or 125 million subscribers. 1 Placing technology into the hands of the bulk of Nigeria’s citizens also requires the infrastructure to enable the devices to be used to their fullest extent.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at their recent Telecom world summit in Doha identified that nearly a quarter of all Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Nigeria was targeted at telecommunications improvement and that a 5 times increase in broadband internet penetration is being planned by 2018. In addition, the President’s Open Access Model allows for inclusive, fair and transparent licensing processes. 2
President Goodluck Jonathan has also guided his ministry to address a number of roadblocks which were hampering citizen’s access to technology. These have ranged from educational issues — such as the G-WIN program which has trained over 2,000 women in information technology issues. 3 Introducing compulsory computer-based testing to address online fraud, Nigeria was re-included recently as a safe user nation of online commerce payment engine PayPal. 4 As a consequence, within a year of this decision occurring Nigeria is now already PayPal’s second largest market in Africa, which has a 60% internet penetration rate. 5
The Federal Government of Nigeria has in recent years created near 250 websites and aimed to place a number of services online to create greater efficiency and reduce potential for corruption. In addition universities have been connected with a 10 GBps trunk circuit to aid research initiatives and stimulate development.
In summary, the pursuit of both infrastructure renewal coupled with ensuring that services are confident with the economy and abuses are curbed represents the ideal model to pursue technological access throughout society. The Nigerian government under President Goodluck Jonathan has succeeded in creating frameworks and resolving specific roadblocks which stand in the way of modernizing Nigeria through ICT access.