The expanding growth witnessed in the Nigeria Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector is attributable to the rising usage of data services and increasing numbers of subscribers, as contained in a latest report by the World Bank, titled ‘Nigeria Development Update (June 2023): Seizing The Opportunity’. These are the primary catalysts for the sector’s first-quarter 2023 growth of 10.3 percent year-over-year. According to the report, Q1 2023 saw an increase in services output of 4.3% year-on-year, with particularly robust expansion in telecommunications and financial services.
Reports from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that in 2022, the ICT sector contributed N12.32 trillion to real GDP, an increase from N11.23 trillion in 2021. Meanwhile, in 2022, it added N21.15 trillion to nominal GDP, up from N17.78 trillion in 2021. The information and communications technology industry was a major contributor to the country’s economy, spurring the service sector’s contribution of 56.27 percent to the GDP in the Q4 of 2022.
Mobile telecom subscriptions increased by 13.89 percent in 2022.
Q1 of 2023 saw robust growth in the service sector, which accounted for 57.29% of the country’s aggregate GDP and expanded by 4.35 percentage points. The NBS reported that the ICT industry grew nominally by 41.84 percent year-on-year in Q1 2023, which was up by 21.30 percentage points from the 20.54 percent rate recorded in the same quarter of 2022 and up 20.43 percentage points from the rate recorded in the previous quarter.
During the first quarter of 2023, the industry saw real yearly expansion of 10.32 percent, this was a 1.75 percentage point drop in the rate when compared to the same period in the year 2022. Also, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) reports that in 2022, there were 222.23 million mobile telecom subscriptions, a 13.89 percent increase from 195.13 million in 2021. This figure reached 225.82 million at the end of the first quarter of 2023.
Nigeria data consumption rate stood at 350,165.39TB in 2021
An increase in internet usage is reflected by the 8.94 percent rise in mobile internet subscribers from 141.62 million in 2020 to 154.28 million in 2022. Although information on 2022 usage is not yet available, the country’s data consumption has been on the rise, increasing from 205,880.4TB in 2020 to 350,165.39TB in 2021. Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report (June 2023) reveals that the increasing smartphone subscriptions and the accompanying rise in the average data volume per subscription are contributing to a meteoric rise in overall data consumption, with video content accounting for a large portion of this growth.
Furthermore, the report projected that Sub-Saharan Africa would be the region with the largest growth in overall mobile data traffic, increasing by 37 percent annually between 2022 and 2028. This is in recognition of ongoing investments in 4G networks and customer migration away from 2G and 3G by service providers across the continent. The average monthly data usage per active smartphone is expected to reach 19 GB by 2028, with smartphone adoption rate expected to drive a dramatic increase in data traffic during the period.
In the last three years, ICT achieved three milestone records.
Former Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami asserts that nowadays the information and communications technology sector’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product is almost threefold that of the contribution of the oil and gas sector. This is despite Nigeria’s historical heavy reliance on the oil and gas sector. More so, the information and communication technology sector has achieved three milestone records in the last three years owing to its contributions to the country’s GDP.