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HomeAfricaNigeria gains additional 16,300sqkm maritime territory

Nigeria gains additional 16,300sqkm maritime territory

…To build 3rd longest terrestrial fibre optic backbone in Africa

…Targets 1.5% GDP growth, 70% broadband penetration

By Blessing Emmanuel, Abuja

The Federal Government has unveiled the launch of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that will boost the country’s digitisation drive to increase the contribution of the digital economy to GDP growth.

Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani made this known on Tuesday.

Noting that it was an outcome of the Federal Executive Council meeting (FEC) presided over by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the minister said that the FEC also approved the establishment of the Nigeria Startup House in San Francisco.

He said the two projects would attract the attention of local tech ecosystem players and investors as key indicators of the government’s commitment to addressing the country’s connectivity and startup funding objectives.

He averred that the project, upon delivery, will become Africa’s 3rd longest terrestrial fibre optic backbone, after Egypt and South Africa.

According to him, “This extensive coverage will enable us to optimise the unique benefit of having eight submarine cables already landed in Nigeria and therefore drive uptake of the data capacity that the cables offer beyond the current usage level of 10 percent.”

“Building on our existing work with the Broadband Alliance, this increased connectivity will help plug the current non-consumption gap by connecting over 200,000 educational, healthcare, and social institutions across Nigeria, ensuring that a larger section of our society can enjoy the benefits of internet connectivity.”

The Minister also added that the SPV will support the delivery of an additional 90,000km of fibre optic cable to complement our existing connectivity infrastructure and deliver a stronger national backbone for universal access to the internet across Nigeria.

“Over the last few months, we have  put in extensive groundwork to set up this SPV which will be modelled in governance and operations similarly to some of the best Public-Private Partnership setups in Nigeria, such as NIBSS and NLNG.

“Working with partners and stakeholders from the government and private sector, this SPV will build the additional fibre optic coverage required to take Nigeria’s connectivity backbone to a minimum of 125,000km, from the current coverage of about 35,000km. Upon delivery, this will become Africa’s 3rd longest terrestrial fibre optic backbone, after Egypt and South Africa.

“This extensive coverage will enable us to optimise the unique benefit of having 8 submarine cables already landed in Nigeria and therefore drive an uptake of the data capacity that the cables offer, beyond the current usage level of 10 percent,” He explained.

Enumerating some of the immediate benefits, Tijani said it will increase internet penetration in Nigeria to over 70 percent, reduce potentially the cost of access to the internet by over 60 percent, inclusion of at least 50 percent of the 33 million Nigerians currently excluded from access to the internet.

He also added that the SPV will aid in delivering up to 1.5 percent of GDP growth per capita raising GDP from $472.6 billion (2022) to $502 billion over the next 4 year.

The Minister also applauded the President’s directives compelling MDAs to procure Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powered vehicles.

Tijani noted that the directive offers a number of opportunities in the value chain that, if properly harnessed by the tech startup ecosystem, will provide a boost to the economy.