The Federal Government has launched the provision of broadband infrastructure in 18 higher academic institutions and for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, SMSEs, in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, during the launch on Thursday in Abuja, said the initiative was aimed at boosting the economic drive of the current administration in various sectors.
He said the project, which was to be implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, was approved by the Federal Executive Council, after the presentation by the minister.
He also said this was to accelerate broadband penetration in Nigeria and advance the course of digital economy projections for the nation.
He said that digital connectivity and expanding access to information played key roles in enhancing the economy.
According to him, the World Bank estimated an increase in the digitally-connected people across the globe to 75 per cent.
Mr Pantami said: ”This will result in an addition of up to $2 trillion dollars per year to world GDP and a creation of about 140 million jobs.
“Similarly, a report by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation states that 80 per cent of economic benefits in developing countries are as a result of the use of ICTs and digital skills.
“While in developed countries, it is even higher at 90 per cent.”
Mr Pantami said that Nigeria had experienced the impact of the digital economy on other sectors of the economy.
The minister added: “You will recall that the digital economy of Nigeria played a key role in stabilising and growing other sectors of our economy.
“The ICT sector also enabled Nigeria to exit the recession triggered by COVID-19, a year earlier than predicted by experts.
“In particular, the ICT sector grew by 14.70 per cent in the last quarter of 2020 and was the only sector that grew by double digits in this quarter and in the entire year 2020.”
Mr Pantami reiterated that digital connectivity, access, and skills were critical to human and economic development in both developed and developing countries.
He listed the beneficiary tertiary institutions to include: the University Of Lagos, College Of Education (Special), Ibadan, as well as Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
Others were: the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Federal University Of Technology, Owerri and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka,
The rest were: the University of Calabar, University of Benin, University of Port Harcourt, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Bayero University, Kano, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University, Katsina, Borno University, and ATBU, Bauchi.
Others were: Gombe University, Federal University of Technology, Minna, University of Ilorin and University of Abuja.