Connect with us

Money market

How internet access reduces extreme poverty by 7% in Nigeria, Tanzania — W’Bank reports

Published

on

…Nigeria’s low data costs hinder expansion of mobile coverage in rural areas — Communication minister
By Sodiq Adelakun

Improved access to Internet coverage in Nigeria and Tanzania has led to a seven percent reduction in extreme poverty, according to the World Bank.

The bank’s new brief, titled “Digital transformation drives development in Africa,” also revealed that Internet access has resulted in an eight percent increase in labor force participation and wage employment.

Over the past five years, Sub-Saharan Africa has seen a remarkable 115 percent increase in Internet users, which has contributed to economic growth, innovation, and job opportunities.

Despite Nigeria having over five million active Internet subscriptions, there is still a need for wider coverage to promote inclusive economic growth.

The Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, highlighted that while data costs in Nigeria are relatively low, many operators are hesitant to expand coverage outside major cities due to profitability concerns.

The World Bank emphasised that increasing mobile internet usage is crucial for inclusive growth in Africa, as it would create more jobs and support economic recovery in an increasingly digital world.

Despite the encouraging progress, the journey towards digital inclusivity faces challenges, including the affordability of mobile connectivity and a persistent digital gender gap.

The cost of mobile internet remains high, and women are 37 percent less likely to use mobile internet compared to men. These barriers highlight the need for continued efforts to make digital access more equitable and widespread.
The brief read in part, “The region’s digital infrastructure coverage, access, and quality still lag other regions. At the end of 2021, while 84 percent of people in SSA lived in areas where 3G service was available, and 63 per cent had access to 4G mobile coverage, only 22 percent were using mobile internet services.

“The gap between coverage and usage is similarly large for broadband, with 61 percent of people in sub-Saharan Africa living within the broadband range but not using it.

“Affordability of mobile connectivity, measured by the price of one gigabyte of mobile data, is another major constraint. In 2019, the average cost of one GB of mobile internet as a percentage of monthly per-capita Gross National Income was 10.5 percent, which is considerably higher than the 2 percent target recommended by the United Nations Broadband Commission. In addition, in 2021, the median cost of an entry-level internet-enabled handset amounted to more than 25.2 percent of monthly gross domestic product per capita.”

It added, “The region has one of the widest digital gender gaps globally. The greatest disparity exists for internet use, where women are 37 percent less likely than men to use mobile internet according to 2023 GSMA data.

“In 2021, around 470 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa did not have proof of ID, preventing them from fully benefiting from critical public and some private services.”

The World Bank has invested $731.8 million in 11 Digital Development projects in Africa over six years, as part of its commitment to digital development in the continent.

This is part of a larger initiative called the Digital Economy for Africa, which aims to digitally enable every individual, business, and government in Africa by 2030. Overall, the World Bank has allocated $2.8 billion across 24 projects in Africa over the past decade.

Money market

Naira will continue to appreciate against dollar – Shettima

Published

on

Vice President Kashim Shettima has expressed optimism that the Naira would continue to appreciate against the dollar at the forex market.

Spokesperson of the Vice-President, Mr Stanley Nkwocha, in a statement on Saturday, said Shettima stated this at a meeting with officials of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), at the President Villa, Abuja.

He said President Bola Tinubu ended the fuel subsidy and ensured the unification of the multiple exchange rate because the former arrangement was producing billionaires overnight.

“Naira went haywire and some people were celebrating but inwardly we were laughing at them because we knew that we have the leadership to reverse the trend.

“Asiwaju knows the game, and truly the Naira is gaining and the difference will drop further.”

He recalled that the quality of leadership provided by President Tinubu as governor of Lagos laid the foundation for the massive development witnessed in the state.

Shettima assured that the Tinubu administration is doing its best to address challenges in the power sector.

According to him, Tinubu’s administration is aware that power is absolutely essential for development.

“We are determined to ensure that we generate jobs for our youths. Honestly, the President’s obsession is to live in a place of glory, to transform this country to a higher pedestal.

“He wants to leave a legacy, one of qualitative leadership because the hope of the black man, the hope of Africa rests with Nigeria.

“I want to assure you that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is one of you. He understands your ecosystem. In this government, you have an ally and a friend.”

Earlier, the President of LCCI, Gabriel Idahosa, emphasised the need for the Federal Government to consider more innovations to address the insecurity challenge in the country.

He also urged the Tinubu administration to ensure a significant upswing in the pace and scale of alternative policy measures that promote credit access, stimulate investment, and support entrepreneurship.

“This could include targeted interventions such as concessional lending facilities, loan guarantees, and interest rate subsidies tailored to the needs of SMEs and key sectors of the economy like agriculture, manufacturing and power technology.”

Continue Reading

Money market

LCCI advocates discipline, export to sustain Naira appreciation

Published

on

LCCI advocates discipline, export to sustain Naira appreciationThe Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has emphasised the importance of maintaining discipline in the foreign exchange market to sustain the steady appreciation of the Naira.

The President and Chairman of the Council of LCCI, Mr Gabriel Idahosa, made the call in an interview with newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos.

Idahosa praised the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria in imposing discipline, attributing the recent Naira appreciation to curbing speculative activities.

“On the monetary side, the CBN is doing it. The primary efforts should continue to impose discipline in the foreign currency market.

“The abuses in the foreign currency market were prevalent and most of the fall in the value of the Naira in the last six months is not because there was any sudden calamity in the Nigerian economy.

“It was primarily because of very reckless speculations, that people were just speculating in the dollar, they had nothing to export, nothing to import, they were just buying the dollar for speculative reasons.

“And once the Central Bank started to impose discipline in the foreign currency market, we saw the value of the Naira rising very quickly by stopping speculation,” he said.

According to him, the strategies of the Central Bank, now, are designed to achieve a sustained discipline in the foreign currency market.

Idahosa highlighted the need to continue reducing the number of Bureau de Change operators, stressing that many operated without contributing to international trade.

He applauded the Central Bank’s move to enforce documentation and identification of buyers and sellers at BDCs, aiming to deter reckless speculation and curb illicit financial flows.

On the fiscal side, Idahosa urged President Bola Tinubu to prioritise a nationwide export drive, citing it as the key to bolstering the Naira and providing essential foreign exchange.

He emphasised the importance of fostering a culture of export among Nigerians across all scales of enterprise to reduce reliance on imports and strengthen the country’s economic resilience.

Continue Reading

Money market

Foreign reserves decline to $32.29bn

Published

on

The foreign reserve has depleted to $32.29 billion, which is a six-year low in the Central Bank’s course to save the naira.

This is the lowest level the reserves have been since September 25, 2017, when it was $32.28 billion.

The country’s foreign reserves declined by 6.2 percent, losing $2.6 billion since March 18, when the naira started its rebound from record-low levels against the dollar to $32.29 billion as of Monday, based on the latest available data from the CBN.

At the beginning of the month, the reserve was at $33.57 billion, then further dipped to $32.6 billion by April 12.

This comes as the CBN has attempted to save the naira through various interventions such as raising interest rates to 24.75 percent and managing foreign exchange trades.

It stepped up its intervention in the FX market with sales at both the official market and to BDC operators who sell dollars on the streets.

The apex bank, which sells $10,000 to each BDC every week, mandated them to only sell at a spread of 1.5 percent, which comes to N1,117 per US dollar.

The rate sold by the BDCs has set a defacto floor for the naira in the black market since the apex bank resumed sales to them in February.

Also, last month the CBN said it had cleared a backlog of $7 billion since the beginning of the year. That was built over the years as the central bank pegged its currency against the dollar, leading to a scarcity of foreign currency that deterred foreign portfolio investment. However, it’s unclear how much dollar debt the CBN retains on its books.

Akpan Ekpo, a professor of economics and public policy, said the CBN’s managed float system in which it is trying to ensure supply and curtail demand is not sustainable in the long term.

He said the CBN needs to be careful with how it depletes the foreign reserves as its main source is oil revenue.

“We need to manufacture non-oil goods and services, export them, and get foreign exchange and not depend on oil income,” he said.

Continue Reading

Trending