With 140 million residents, Nigeria is the most populated African nation. But with the sparsity of broadband access and a digital divide between cities and rural areas, is it any surprise the country also leads the continent in internet usage?
Here’s some data shared my way by Loy Okezie, one of many Nigerian infopreneurs, who blogs about start-up firms (and one of the latest blogs I follow). As you can see, Nigerian netizens are surging ahead:
Nigeria’s internet development is not over yet.
Fueled in part by a January 2008 memorandum of agreement between the country’s National Information Technology Development Agency and the Nigeria Internet Registration Association to transfer management of the .ng top-level country code domain, NIRA announced last month that it expects to gain 2 million users over 18 months.
NIRA indicated three opportunities to boost internet penetration in Nigeria:
- Proliferate the data market within the core telecommunications industry
- Protect brands with multiple domains (for both corporate names and product brands)
- Rise content needs in the Nigerian market.
These are noble goals, but as local reporter Jaco Maritz indicates, the focus should be on #1 and increasing broadband access.
Nigerians connect to the internet in many ways but 53% of connections are made through Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) links. Wireless microwave links account for 19% of internet access and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) access are estimated to be only 14%. Many of these sessions are through internet cafes as very few Nigerians have their own personal computers. National Bureau of Statistics figures show that in 2006 less than 10% of internet users had access from the workplace and less than 4% from the home. Only 1.3% of the population own personal computers.
Let’s see if Nigeria and NIRA can make miracles happen.