Latest data by the Ministry of Communications Technology showed that telecommunications service providers in Nigeria connect over 63 million Nigerians to the internet since the liberalisation of the sector in 2001.
“There has been amazing growth and engagement online in Nigeria. From 2008, for example, we’ve seen a fourfold increase in Nigerians getting [connected] and doing things online,” Juliet Ehimuan, Google Country manager for Nigeria told CNBC Africa.
According to a recent report by Ericsson, the scale of sub-Saharan Africa’s data revolution will see phone users’ consumption of data per month increase 20 times by 2019 and the use of mobile internet is expected to double to 147,000 terabytes in 2015 from 76,000 terabytes in June 2014.
“Internet penetration was about 6.7 per cent in 2008 and last year, it was 29 per cent based on IT statistics so we are seeing more Nigerian entrepreneurs leveraging online platforms to extend their reach,” she said.
A key driver of change in the ecosystem has been a continuous increase in the use of mobile phones and mobile devices in the country. Analysts have found that more Nigerians are now confident in buying and selling products online.
“More developers are building apps that are engaging for our users, more businesses are leveraging online and of course, social media. More Nigerians are getting online to communicate, socialise and collaborate so, there’s been a huge growth,” she explained.
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“We’ve been working with various groups, universities, entrepreneurs and developers to really create the right level of awareness on understanding and making the internet more accessible.”
In 2011, google launched an initiative titled ‘Get Nigerian businesses online’ which is aimed at supporting Nigerian companies and getting them online.
“The SME landscape represents a very huge opportunity in Nigeria. We have over two million SMEs and sadly most of them are offline,” she added.
“We got great success stories. One year we had over 30,000 Nigerian SMEs come online and great stories of growth within a matter of months in vast customer reach and enhanced revenue.”