It appears there has not been any significant upward shift in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) development in Nigeria in the last one year; this is because the country has ranked 137thout of 175 countries surveyed on technology growth in 2016.
According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in its ‘Measuring the Information Society’ report on ICT Development Index (IDI) made available to The Guardian on Monday, Nigeria, which ranked 137th last year still remained on the same spot in 2016. Though, the IDI in 2015 was 2.48 per cent, which slightly climbed to 2.72 in the outgoing year.
The IDI is an index published by the United Nations, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), based on internationally agreed information and communication technologies (ICT) indicators. The IDI is based on 11 ICT indicators, grouped in three clusters: access, use and skills.
The other nine countries in the top 10 ranking are:
· Iceland (8.83 per cent);
· Denmark (8.74 per cent);
· Switzerland (8.68 per cent);
· United Kingdom (8.57 per cent);
· Hong Kong (8.46 per cent);
· Sweden (8.45 per cent);
· Netherland (8.43 per cent);
· Norway (8.42 per cent); and,
· Japan (8.37 per cent).
The United States of America is ranked 15th with 8.17 per cent penetration.
With Seychelles ranking 87th and 5.03 IDI penetration from 85th position and 4.77 per cent in 2015, the country leads other African countries. South Africa is next with 5.03 per cent and 88th position from 4.70 per cent in 2015.Tunisia is next. It had a slight IDI growth of 4.83 per cent in 2016 from 4.49 per cent it had in 2015, which placed it at 95th position.
Commenting, the Director Telecommunication Development Bureau (BDT), ITU, Brahima Sanou, said this year’s results showed that nearly all of the 175 countries covered by the index improved their IDI values between 2015 and 2016.
He stressed that during the same period, stronger improvements were made on ICT use than access, mainly as a result of strong growth in mobile-broadband uptake globally.
This, he said, allowed an increasing number of people, particular from the developing world, to join the information society and benefit from the many services and applications provided through the Internet.
“This year, for the first time, the report also shows countries’ rankings according to their improvement in IDI value. The results show strong improvements in performance throughout the world; a number of middle income developing countries in particular are reaping the benefits of more liberalised and competitive ICT markets that encourage innovation and ICT uptake across all sectors,” he stated.
He explained that despite these encouraging developments, there is need to focus on the countries that are among the least connected in the world, “urgent action is required to address this persistent digital divide if we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) enshrined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For example, the report shows that in some low-income countries, between 20 and 40 per cent of people still do not own a mobile phone and that the gender gap in mobile phone ownership is substantially higher.”
The report observed that there is a strong association between economic and ICT development, with the least developed countries at a particular disadvantage.
According to it, the average IDI value for developed countries (7.40) is 3.33 points higher than that for developing countries (4.07), although developing countries improved their IDI value more than developed countries.
There is also a strong association between the least connected countries, countries that are in the bottom quartile of the IDI 2016 distribution, and least developed countries. Indeed, the bottom 27 countries are all least developed countries, and the gap in IDI values between these countries and higher-performing developing countries continues to widen.
By Adeyemi Adepetun