Sectoral Analysis of ICT Use in Nigeria

Sectoral Analysis of ICT Use in Nigeria

Isola Ajiferuke (University of Western Ontario, Canada) and Wole Olatokun (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch534
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Abstract

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) have become key tools and had a revolutionary impact of how we see the world and how we live (Dabesaki, 2005). They have the potential to be a major driving force behind the economic growth of any nation because of their potentially strong restructuring impact on existing economic activities and the ability to affect economic activities in a variety of ways. These include improving the quality of existing services, creating new services, raising labor and productivity, increasing capital intensity, enhancing economics of scale, and creating new economic structures. ICTs are also paving the way for greater ease of movement of technical and financial services, and are instrumental to development during the rapid globalization process. From the information technology revolution, a new kind of economy emerges. This is the information-based economy in which information along with capital and labor is a critical resource for creation of income and wealth for the enhancement of competitiveness. ICTs have also left their mark on the political and social dimensions of development, specifically by enhancing participation in decision-making processes at the corporate, local, and national levels. It is an established fact that a few developing countries like China, India, and Brazil are successfully taking advantage of the opportunities information and communications technologies offer and have made significant improvement in their economic, and many more developing countries (including Nigeria) are beginning to derive some of the potential benefits. For most of the developing world, however, information and communications technologies remain just a promise, and it seems a distant one at that. There is little evidence from past experience of national and international development policies, strategies, and programs to suggest that much will change for large segments of the world’s poorest people. Nigeria, like most developing countries, is an “information- poor” country where the deployment and application of ICTs is still in its infancy. This article, which is an updated version of an earlier one (Ajiferuke & Olatokun, 2005), presents the current status of ICT in Nigeria, particularly its applications in some sectors of the nation’s economy. It also identifies some inhibitions to the effective deployment and exploitation of ICT in Nigeria and concludes with a discussion of the policy issues, challenges, and prospects of ICT use in Nigeria.
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Introduction

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) have become key tools and had a revolutionary impact of how we see the world and how we live (Dabesaki, 2005). They have the potential to be a major driving force behind the economic growth of any nation because of their potentially strong restructuring impact on existing economic activities and the ability to affect economic activities in a variety of ways. These include improving the quality of existing services, creating new services, raising labor and productivity, increasing capital intensity, enhancing economics of scale, and creating new economic structures. ICTs are also paving the way for greater ease of movement of technical and financial services, and are instrumental to development during the rapid globalization process. From the information technology revolution, a new kind of economy emerges. This is the information-based economy in which information along with capital and labor is a critical resource for creation of income and wealth for the enhancement of competitiveness. ICTs have also left their mark on the political and social dimensions of development, specifically by enhancing participation in decision-making processes at the corporate, local, and national levels.

It is an established fact that a few developing countries like China, India, and Brazil are successfully taking advantage of the opportunities information and communications technologies offer and have made significant improvement in their economic, and many more developing countries (including Nigeria) are beginning to derive some of the potential benefits. For most of the developing world, however, information and communications technologies remain just a promise, and it seems a distant one at that. There is little evidence from past experience of national and international development policies, strategies, and programs to suggest that much will change for large segments of the world’s poorest people.

Nigeria, like most developing countries, is an “information-poor” country where the deployment and application of ICTs is still in its infancy. This article, which is an updated version of an earlier one (Ajiferuke & Olatokun, 2005), presents the current status of ICT in Nigeria, particularly its applications in some sectors of the nation’s economy. It also identifies some inhibitions to the effective deployment and exploitation of ICT in Nigeria and concludes with a discussion of the policy issues, challenges, and prospects of ICT use in Nigeria.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Policy: A plan of action to guide decisions and actions. The term may apply to government, private sector organizations and groups, and individuals.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT): An umbrella term that includes any communication device or application, encompassing radio, television, cellular phones, computer and network hardware and software, satellite systems, and so on, as well as the various services and applications associated with them.

Information Technology: Encompasses all forms of technology used in processing and disseminating information.

Internet: An interconnected system of networks that connects computers around the world via the TCP/IP protocol.

Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM): A digital mobile telephone system that is widely used in Europe and other parts of the world. GSM uses a variation of TDMA and is the most widely used of the three digital wireless telephone technologies (TDMA, GSM, and CDMA). GSM digitizes and compresses data, then sends it down a channel with two other streams of user data, each in its own time slot.

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