ITU ICT Development Index Rates Nigeria Poor, Ranks 143 in Africa

ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) ICT Development Index 2017 has rated Nigeria very poor ranking it 143 with just 2.60 % value far below most African countries.
The IDI 2017, which featured in the ninth edition of the annual Measuring Information Society Report (MIS) released yesterday by the ITU is a unique benchmark of the level of ICT development in countries across the world.
The MIS is an ITU flagship publication widely recognised as the repository of the world’s most reliable and impartial global data and analysis on the state of global ICT development.
It is extensively relied upon by governments, international organisations, development banks and private sector analysts and investors worldwide.
Although Nigeria is regarded as the fastest growing telecoms market in Africa, yet the report showed countries like Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa, Cape Verde, Botswana, Gabon, Ghana, Namibia, Côte d’Ivoire, and S. Tomé & Principe occupying the first 10 position with value high than 4.00 % while Nigeria struggles with countries like Mali, Togo, Cameroun, Rwanda and Uganda with value as low as 2.00 %.
According to the report, in the 2016 edition, Nigeria was on the 143 position but with a value of 2.44 % while no data was captured for Nigeria’s ranking in 2014 and 2015.
The average value for Africa in the IDI 2017 is 2.64 points. Mauritius, ranks in the upper half of the global IDI distribution. The region includes two of the three countries, which achieved the most dynamic improvements in their IDI value over the year – Namibia and Gabon.
Iceland tops the IDI 2017 rankings. It is followed by two countries and one economy in the Asia and the Pacific region, and six other countries in Europe, which have competitive ICT markets that have experienced high levels of ICT investment and innovation over many years.
The IDI is based on 11 indicators. However, recent developments in ICT markets have led to the review of those indicators. As a result of that review, in 2018 the index will be defined by 14 indicators that should add further insights into the performance of individual countries and the relative performance of countries at different development levels.
The latest data on ICT development show continued progress in connectivity and use of ICTs. There has been sustained growth in the availability of communications in the past decade, led by growth in mobile cellular telephony and, more recently, in mobile-broadband.
Growth in fixed and mobile-broadband infrastructure has stimulated Internet access and use. The number of mobile-broadband subscriptions worldwide now exceeds 50 % 100 population, enabling improved access to the Internet and online services.
According to ITU, in spite of the rapid expansion of ICTs, there are substantial digital divides between countries and regions adding that there has been registered progress in ICT growth by least developed countries, in terms of connectivity as well as the use of the Internet.
The report revealed that globally, more than half of households worldwide now have access to the Internet, though the rate of growth appears to have fallen below 5 % yearly saying that there has also been significant progress in terms of bridging the gender digital divide across the regions.
ITU study predicted that the Internet of Things will greatly expand the digital footprints, connect people, organisations and information resources, saying that it will also connect objects equipped with digital information and with sensing, processing and communication capabilities.
“This ubiquitous infrastructure will generate abundant data that can be utilized to achieve efficiency gains in the production and distribution of goods and services, and to improve human life in innovative ways”, the report noted.
Commenting on the report, the ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao said: “This year’s report shows that ICTs have the potential to make the world a better place and contribute immensely to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
He said:” Despite the overall progress achieved, the digital divide remains a challenge which needs to be addressed. This is important because information and communication technology and the digital economy have the potential to transform the lives of billions of men, women and children. The digital revolution can transform nations-entire continents-but only if digital resources are accessible. This report will help to support countries to do just that.”
Zhao called on countries to create conditions supportive to the deployment of next-generation network and service infrastructures urging them to adopt policies that are conducive to experimentation and innovation, while mitigating potential risks to information security, privacy, and employment.
Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Development Bureau,Brahima Sanou said: “It is my hope that this report will be of great value to the ITU membership, particularly for policy-makers, the ICT industry and others working towards the building of an inclusive global information society.”
Sanou noted that fully harnessing the economic and social benefits of the digital revolution requires efficient and affordable physical infrastructures and services, more advanced user skills, and internationally comparable benchmarks and indicators to support enabling public policies.
Isaiah Erhiawarien, West Africa


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