Nigeria, a growing technology force in Africa

June 11, 2013 • Features

From West Africa, news over the Internet and off wires is that Nigeria’s bustling technology market continues to grow in stature, relevance and volume. The country has been ranked among the continent’s most active regions according to ITNewsAfrica.

Lagos, Nigeria. The country has an active and growing ICT sector.

Lagos, Nigeria. The country has an active and growing ICT sector. (image credit:opengist3)

If one measures the technical clout of a region by the level of regulation and of activity in key growth markets, it would be fair to say that Africa’s most populous country is on an upward trajectory.

One example is the financial sector. In May a Daily Trust report said that, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the total value of electronic funds transfer (EFT) stood at N80 billion (approximately $508 million) per day.

Tunde Lemo, the Deputy Governor, Operations, CBN, was quoted in the report as saying that the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) records over N20 billion (approximately $127 million) daily transaction value, whilst the Nigeria Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) facilitates daily transactions to the value of N60 billion (approximately $381 million).

Another example is the high-growth, solution-driven mobile and telecommunications services sector. There are several operators that compete for market share within this space, including established names such as Airtel Nigeria, Glo Mobile, MTN Nigeria, Starcomms and Etisalat,

Globacom recently announced that it has started an upgrading drive of its current network and that they have signed a $750 million contract with Chinese ICT solutions provider Huawei Technologies. It also released a global Wi-Fi bundle.   Airtel Nigeria introduced a dual purpose single recharge card for both voice and data services. The company also brokered a deal with ‘Whatsapp’ to provide data application packages to subscribers.

From ongoing news coverage, one is able to pick up that issues like Mobile Number Portability (MNP), SIM card registration, quality of service, mobility and mobile money are priorities.

And, of course, one should not underestimate the influence of regulation on this marketplace – particularly as it pertains to the management of mobile services to consumers.

In May of this year four mobile network operators were reported to have been fined by the country’s telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), for what News24 Nigeria stated as “contravening the provisions on pre-registration of subscriber identification module (SIM) cards…”

The NCC also issued an order to MTN to review its charges to customers in order to reduce its market dominance.

In a statement the body said, “The mobile data market segment has grown significantly in the last five years and accounts for about 99% of the total data market. The GSM Operators lead this market segment. The major competition concern is that the wholesale providers of bulk bandwidth also play in the retail mobile data market and potentially stifle competition in this market,” the NCC said in a report that detailed market dominance of mobile operators.”

Online research suggests that there is renewed investment in network infrastructure (including fibre optic technology and base stations) to support the demand for bandwidth. This is likely to remain a key feature of Nigeria’s technology landscape for some time because of the need to cover and address requirements for connectivity in rural areas, as well as support the rollout of LTE – which is dependent on the allocation of spectrum.

At the same time Nigeria’s subscriber growth has increased, market analysts suggest because of the need for mobile broadband services and lower costs.

According to Internet World Stats by mid-year 2012 the country had 48,366,179 internet users, representing 28,4% penetration into the population.

Serving up innovation

Given the increase in growth and levels of competition and market interest in Nigeria, IT News Africa has confirmed the hosting of an Innovation Dinner to be held in Lagos on 26 June.

The theme of this event is The Changing Role of the African CIO, a topic that explores the extent to which the CIO’s role in a company has been forced to change and what this means against a backdrop of a constantly evolving market.

This ‘by invitation only’ event offers an exclusive opportunity for senior executives in commerce to hear from industry leaders and experts who will present on the subject.

* Image via Shutterstock

Chris Tredger, Online Editor



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