Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues




October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007



LUNARPAGES.COM and IPOWERWEB.COM - Despicable WebHosts - Read My Story





Nigeria : Digital Divide, Technology Growth, and Technology Adoption Appropriateness




Femi Oyesanya


Sunday, September 12, 2004

          Digital Divide is often referred to as the performance gaps that exist between countries with universal access to Information Technology resource, and countries without such universal access.  Nigeria does not yet have universal Information Technology resource access.   Computer ownership, and Internet access, currently belongs to a certain segment of society. According to Pippa Norris of the John F. Kennedy School of Government Harvard University “Globally the regional disparities are marked. The 29 OECD member states, representing post-industrial economies and developed democracies, contain 97% of all Internet hosts, 92% of the market in production and consumption of computer hardware, software and services, and 86% of all Internet users.  In contrast the whole of Sub-Saharan Africa contains only 2.5 million Internet users, or less than 1% of the world’s online community. Indeed there are more users within affluent Sweden than in the entire continent of Africa .”[1]

     Nigeria is a prime example of the contrast that Pippa Norris talks about.  According to,

In the year 2003, Nigeria with a population of 154,491,100, recorded only 750,000 Internet users or 0.5% of the total population.[2] 

 There are many factors responsible for Nigeria ’s Digital Divide. In general, we can summarize them as follows:  


A)          A lack of underlying Technology Development Infrastructure.  For example, Electricity, Transportation and Water supply.


B)          Lack of formulation and Implementation of effective Strategy and Policy to address Digital Divide disparities.


C)          Lack of Formulation of Strategy to address Exponential Technology Development and growth disparity.  


D)          Lack of Clear Technology Adoption Appropriateness.


E)          Lack of Information Technology Research and Development initiatives.

 The above factors are largely responsible for Nigeria lagging behind in Information Technology age.  Particular attention must be paid to Nigeria ’s non-existent Research and Development effort.  It was Ray  Kurzweil's that said  "we will see 1,000 times more technological progress in the 21st century than we saw in the 20th," [3]  The rate of Technological development and change has become exponential.  The driving force behind most of the exponential growth that we see in the Information Technologies are a result of research driven innovation.  James L. Crowley says it best, “the exponential growth in performance is the result of a virtuous cycle composed of the interaction of research, innovation and economic impact. In this spiral, the promise of economic gain leads to allocation of resources for research. Research produces innovation. Innovation triggers generation of wealth. The resulting wealth provides resources for research. All three components are fundamental. As long as the three components (or phases) of the cycle continue, innovations will accumulate and performance grows exponentially” [4]

Nigerian Information Technology Innovation has failed to keep up with global trends, this is because generally,   Nigeria is an Information Technology product consumer.  The entire Information Technology Industry is not Research and Development inclined, but focuses mainly to End-User computing.  To date, the only major technological achievement by the Nigerian National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), are projects in developing the Nigerian keyboard. Hence, the output of the cycles of research and innovation interaction that John Crowley talked about, are also lagging.   

Nevertheless, Nigeria continues to face an Information Technology Divide and Information Technology development dilemma.  First, she needs to develop underlying baseline Technologies, such as; electricity, water supply, and transportation, upon which all Information Technology building blocks are laid.  This core Information Technology structural readiness phase, is a major attribute of Nigeria ’s Digital Divide.

Next, she needs to narrow the existing Digital Divide gap. If we define Digital Divide as existing Technology use disparity, Nigeria  needs  to narrow the overwhelming gap that exist between her and  countries that have adopted Technology development at a more earlier stage.  This can only be done by Technology Adoption Acceleration.   According to Teresa Peters, “the digital divide between countries is usually measured in terms of the number of telephones, computers, and Internet users. Between groups of people within countries”[5]   Nigeria ’s   task thus, is to bridge the Technology division gap that currently exists both internally and externally.  Internally, she needs to improve the underlying Infrastructure and make Information Technology universally accessible.  Externally, she needs to bridge the Technology gap that exists between her, and developed nations.  

Thirdly, with the exponential growth of Technology, Nigeria also needs to keep abreast of the exponential Technological development.   She needs to invest in Research and Development, and facilitate the adoption of Technology spread through all fabric of society.   Nigeria needs to equip the universities with Research and Development resources, and implement Polices that encourages the private sector in Technology development initiatives.  

 Lastly, given the limitation of resources and a very un-reliable underlying Technology development Infrastructure, there is a resounding need for Technological Adoption appropriateness.   For example, given the problem of a local Fiber Optics Network Infrastructure, Nigeria might need to appropriately adopt other emerging forms of Telecommununication transmission medium.   Fiber Optics deployment might be forgone in favor of the new Wireless or Satellite standards. 

Bridging Nigerian’s Digital Divide will involve a simultaneous process of accelerated universal provision of Technology access , Research and Development, and the implementation and adoption of relevant policies.    


horizontal rule

© 1999 - 2006 Segun Toyin Dawodu. All rights reserved. All unauthorized copying or adaptation of any content of this site will be liable to  legal recourse.


Segun Toyin Dawodu, P. O. BOX 710080, HERNDON, VA  20171-0080, USA.

This page was last updated on 10/27/07.