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Nigeria-Corruption and High Internet Penetration.

ITU headquarters,Geneva.

ITU headquarters,Geneva

According to the international telecommunications union,ITU,Nigeria,with over 43 million internet users,has the largest internet market in Africa.The ITU goes on to report that 40% of all internet traffic from Africa originates from Nigeria,topping South Africa,the continent’s top economy.No mean feat,this.Are there other factors driving this,other than that Nigeria has the largest population,by far, in Africa,and that Nigerians are show-offs,materialistic and have a taste for early-adoption of technology?From where i am standing,yes.

First,the mass embrace of internet facilitated fraud.With limited opportunity for legitimate gainful employment,in a society where moral values have unraveled and which worships at the altar of materialism,many Nigerian youths predictably,turned their talents to online fraud.As a lot of people surged into the “business”,internet activity received a huge boost.This is not to suggest that all online activity is fraudulent.Far from it.There is plenty of legitimate online business.But,it is a cinch that internet traffic would be a lot lower,if not for online scams.

Second,government corruption.The reality is that many Nigerians with internet access are multiple subscribers,migrating from one vendor to another,in search of  non-existent service.The service is that bad.The regulators overseeing the sector,the communication commission,are falling down on the job.They are just not doing the business.They allow the service providers to sign up subscribers,out of all proportion to their capacity to provide the contracted service.No real effort is made to align internet infrastructure with subscriber base.Many believe,that this is because the regulators have been co-opted,through a process of outright inducement or regulatory capture.

However it is viewed,the reality is that Nigeria represents a huge internet market,a fact that should interest investors and enterpreneurs,both domestic and foreign.This is the message from these figures.I have always felt,that at over 140 million people,Nigeria has a population of autarkic proportion.Just by targeting the Nigerian market,any producers of goods and services can profit greatly.And part of that profit would be invested in new ideas and technologies further enriching Nigerian society,in what is a virtuous cycle.But this is possible only under certain conditions, characterized by intelligent regulation and robust enforcement.


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