By Emele Onu
Public-private partnership targets 65% penetration by 2024
Program is part of government’s strategy to diversify economy
Nigeria plans to invest 265 billion naira ($732 million) in broadband infrastructure over the next four years as the government sets its sights on nationwide coverage and to boost an economy recovering from a 2016 contraction.
The government will provide 65 billion naira for the project and six private infrastructure companies the balance under a public-private partnership, according to Umar Danbatta, the chief executive officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission.
The government of Africa’s biggest producer of crude oil wants to increase connectivity for the nation’s almost 200 million people as part of a drive to boost business and help diversify the economy away from the commodity.
Read more: Nigeria Plans to Double Manufacturing’s GDP Contribution by 2025
The West African nation plans to roll out an additional 30,000 kilometers (19,000 miles) of fiber across its 774 local governments, taking the total to 71,000 kilometers by 2024, Danbatta said in a telephone interview from the nation’s capital, Abuja. The penetration rate could rise to 65% from 38%, he said.
The commission plans to start the project this year after obtaining government approval. Danbatta said. “There will be data everywhere in the country and it will be cheap.”