As part of its digital transformation ambitions, the Nigerian federal government wants to accelerate the penetration of connectivity in the country. However, this ambition is slowed down by the lack of infrastructure in the ICT sector.
Dapo Abiodun, Governor of Ogun State in Nigeria, inaugurated the first fiber optic cable manufacturing plant in West Africa on Thursday, July 14. Called the Coleman Wire and Cable Fiber Optic Company, the plant was built by wire and cable manufacturer Coleman Technical Industries Limited (CTIL), in partnership with the American company Corning Inc.
George Onafowokan, Managing Director of CTIL, explained that this initiative is a response to the Federal Government’s call for rapid development of digital penetration in the Nigerian economy. The company aims to become the largest fiber optic cable factory in Africa by September 2023. To this end, it plans to build capacity in the country, West Africa, Central Africa and about 50% of the continent.
The construction of this plant is part of the “ Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP) 2020-2025 ” unveiled by the federal government in March 2020. This program aims in particular to achieve 70% broadband penetration and coverage of 90% of the population by 2025. Increasing broadband penetration is necessary in view of Nigerian ambitions for e-government, digital transformation and digital economy.
According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), more than 35 million people currently lack access to telecommunications services in Nigeria, despite growing investment in the ICT sector. A situation which is notably due to “the inadequacy of the wireless and fiber optic connectivity infrastructure ” in the sector.
According to Mr. Abiodun, the local manufacture of fiber optic cables will facilitate the digital transformation of the various sectors of the Nigerian economy. “ It will stimulate technological innovation, advancement of teaching and learning processes in our academic institutions, improve medical care, facilitate access to data and improve Internet connection. This will undoubtedly provide a boost to our administration’s innovation in digital economy infrastructure ,” the governor said.