Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with a population of 211 million people. Nigeria also has the continent’s largest economy, with a total GDP of $440 billion. Nigeria only emerged as Africa’s largest economy in 2014, overtaking South Africa after a GDP rebasing exercise which accounted for the contribution of emerging sectors of the economy, such as the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Nigeria’s economy had hitherto been petroleum dominated. In Q4 2021, the ICT sector of the economy contributed 15% to GDP, compared to 5% for the oil and gas sector. The percentage of people who use the Internet in Nigeria is 28%, largely through mobile networks. 91% of the population is covered by a mobile network (i.e. 74% by at least a 3G network and 41% by at least a 4G network). Huawei and ZTE have been responsible for constructing major parts of Nigeria’s broadband network (4G, LTE and 5G). Mobile phone subscription coverage is 99% of the population. Active mobile broadband subscription is 42% of the population, while fixed broadband connection is negligible, under 1%. Nigeria has 6 international submarine cables bringing at least 40TB capacity to its shores. There are 7 Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in Nigeria with 71 peering networks. NigComSat-1, a communications satellite, made possible by cooperation between Nigeria and China, was launched in May 2007. Nigeria has plans to purchase 2 more communications satellites by 2025. Nigeria banned cryptocurrencies in 2021, but floated perhaps Africa’s largest digital currency the e-naira the same year. Despite the cryptocurrency ban, it is still in use in the country although hosted in foreign accounts.
The European Union is a significant partner in Nigeria’s cyberspace. For example, through its EU-Nigeria Digital Economy Package (Global Gateway Initiative), the EU plans a 820 million Euros investment to support Nigeria’s digitalisation strategy through digital infrastructure investments, digitalisation of public services, digital entrepreneurship, digital skills, and digital governance. However, the EU faces strong competition from China, whose investment in Nigeria’s telecommunications sectors is estimated to be $US 16 billion. China also helped manufacture and launch Nigeria’s Communications Satellite and has an equity stake in the parent satellite communications company. Huawei has been an important partner of the Nigerian government in building smart cities and e-government applications in an effort to improve government public services. Nigeria’s cyberspace is governed by several agencies including the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).