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Poor Infrastructure May Deny Nigeria Benefits Of Digital Economy ––Experts
Published Mar 23, 2023 IN Economy,
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INFORMATION and Communica­tion Technology (ICT) experts, have said that Nigeria may miss the benefits of a digital economy, un­less it rejigs its infrastructure base.

The experts who spoke at the ICT Growth Conference, organised by the Nigeria Information Technology Re­porters Association (NITRA), agreed that infrastructure provisioning remained Nigeria’s surest pathway to building a robust digital economy. While noting that nothing may be achieved between now and next year until after the next elections, they advised the incoming administration to identify a specific infrastructure and fix it. Specifically, they want the government to focus on power, as this plays a significant role in the ICT and every other sector of the economy.

According to the experts, efforts at building Nigeria’s digital economy cannot yield the much-desired fruit unless there is sustained commit­ment on the part of the government to prioritise the provision of infra­structure. Speaking as one of the pan­ellists at a session themed, “Creating a Digital Ecosystem in Nigeria: The Hurdles, The Gains”, the Chief Finan­cial Officer of Medallion Data Centre, Seyi Olarenwaju, said infrastructure is going to play a vital role in enhanc­ing digital systems in Nigeria’s digital ecosystem, noting that “if there is no infrastructure in place, there is nothing.” Kelechukwu Nsofor of Rack Centre, a carrier-neutral Tier III data centre who spoke from a data centre provider’s perspective, said power is the key infrastructure that drives a data centre business, describing it as basically the livewire of any data centre. “The key infrastructure that we rely on is power. Power is basi­cally the livewire of any data centre. Unfortunately, if you go back to 1999 since we started the current demo­cratic dispensation in the country, what has been the installed capacity in terms of power? 20 years down the line, where are we today in terms of power?

“At a point, we were generating 1600MW, today, it’s still hovering around 3000MW. Where does that leave us as an economy of over 200 million people? So, if you look at the population growth rate and try to compare it with what we are growing in terms of power, you see that there’s a total disconnect.”

He said that Nigeria is blessed with a rich reservoir of policies and knowl­edge expertise but expressed worries that this has not been translated to results in the country’s power industry.

“Now, tying that to Rack Centre and indeed the data centre space, we have been generating our own power in the last nine years that we have been operating. And we’ve been fully in control of generating that power now. As we look to expand, we are also looking at ways where we can continue to generate power or do it more cost-effectively. We would like a situation where the government will actually stop the lip service that goes into infrastructure like power and actually start showing serious commitment by playing a major role in the provisioning of power infra­structure,” he said.

In his intervention, Chidi Okpala of Galaxy Backbone acknowledged that government understands the impor­tance of infrastructure in growing.


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