The steady increase in internet subscriptions in Nigeria will lead to the creation of more jobs for Nigerians and further boost the country’s economy. This is according to industry experts who spoke to Nairametrics.
The experts observed that more Nigerians are becoming aware of the huge opportunities that could be derived from the internet, hence, many are getting connected every day. The growing embrace of the internet, they said, is driving the growth of e-commerce in Nigeria and creating several internet-enabled jobs.
This is even as they noted that more Nigerians on the internet creates more attention to cybersecurity and data protection issues, which will in turn create jobs for experts in those areas.
Between January and July this year, data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) shows that active internet subscriptions across mobile, fixed and VoIP networks have increased by over 10 million. Internet subscriptions in the country, which stood at 141.9 million as of December 2021, jumped to 152 million as of July 2022.
What they are saying
Reacting to the internet subscriptions growth in a chat with Nairametrics, the Chief Executive Officer of Jidaw Systems Limited, and ICT solutions provider company, Mr. Jide Awe, said: “The steady rise in Internet subscriptions is an indication of greater awareness of the benefits and opportunities that can be derived from the Internet. Remote working and digital activities accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic may have opened many eyes and contributed to the rise.
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“It indicates that the Internet is being used to improve efficiency and effectiveness in key areas in the society and economy—communication and sharing, learning, commercial transactions, work from home, faster information search, responsiveness to inquiries, pricing comparisons, networking, and partnering. This is creating and will continue to create new types of Internet-enabled jobs as well indirect jobs that may be created offline by increased Internet activities.
“Again, as Internet activities rise, Cybersecurity and Data protection will require more attention and will also be a source of jobs.”
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Awe, however, noted that the growth in the use of the internet should be made inclusive for all Nigerians.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) Mr. Ajibola Olude, said internet subscriptions would continue to rise as the telecom operators are pushing a new agenda of rural connectivity which ensures that more Nigerians are connected. “Internet subscriptions will continue to rise in Nigeria because the government and some private organizations are encouraging digital literacy across the length and breadth of the country.
“This will definitely have a positive impact on macroeconomic variables like job creation because as telecom operators move to unconnected areas to get them connected, banks, insurance, and a host of other businesses will also be moving to those areas and people have to be employed to work in those companies,” he said.
An IT expert, Mr. Adewale Adeoye, described internet access as the bedrock of the digital economy policy being implemented by the government. “Without high internet penetration, there is no digital economy. This is why the rising internet subscriptions is a positive development for Nigeria; an indication that many more Nigerians are being brought into the digital economy space, thus creating more job opportunities,” he said.
A recent report by Endeavor Nigeria, ‘The Inflection Point: Africa’s digital economy is poised to take off,’ forecast that 44 million jobs could be created if Nigeria and other African nations’ Internet penetration reaches 75%
The report stated that three million jobs in Nigeria and other African countries would be created by online marketplaces by 2025 and 1.7 million jobs were expected by the same year as a result of Google’s $1billion investment to support digital transformation through its subsea cables between Europe and Africa.
Another report by Jobberman dubbed “Digital Sector: Skills Gap Report” indicates that Nigeria’s digital economy holds the potential to create jobs and reduce the rate of unemployment.
Recent data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) suggests that the country’s unemployment rate currently stands at 33.3%.
The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy is currently implementing a National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS). This is aimed at getting more Nigerians to participate in the digital economy through capacity building and deepening internet penetration.