This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 6/20/2016

Overview

Unit:   USD thousands

 

2013

2014

2015

2016 (estimated)

Total Market Size

94,510

108,603

125,219

100,175

Total Local Production

3,510

3,861

4,460

3,568

Total Exports

0

0

0

0

Total Imports

91,080

104,742

121,008

96,806

Imports from the U.S.

57,570

66,206

76,487

61,190

Exchange Rate:   1 USD

158

158

199

199


Total Market Size = (Total Local Production + Total Imports) – (Total Exports)
Data Sources:   National Bureau of Statistics website:   www.nigerianstat.gov.ng; Http://www.bmiresearch.com/; Http://businessnews.com.ng/; Http://www.thisdaylive.com/; Http://www.nipc.gov.ng/; Http://guardian.ng/; Http://technologytimes.ng/
Total Local Production:   Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and Lagos Computer Village
Total Imports:   National Bureau of Statistics website:   www.nigerianstat.gov.ng
Imports from U.S.:  http://censtats.census.gov/naic3_6/naics3_6.shtml; http://www.tradingeconomics.com/nigeria/imports.
 
*Figures for 2016 are based on 3.8 percent GDP forecast versus 3 percent in 2015.
 
At 34 percent annual average growth rate, the Nigeria’s information and communications technology (ICT) sector contributes nearly 11.93 percent to product, and is considered one of the fastest growing sectors in Nigeria, and the second largest ICT market in Africa.  The Federal Government of Nigeria (GON) recognizes the ICT as the enabler for developing other critical sectors including agriculture and manufacturing.  Thus, in its drive to diversify the economy from oil and gas, the GON is encouraging partnerships between local ICT companies and multinational/foreign investors.  To promote these partnerships and grow an entrepreneurial eco-system in the technology sector, the federal government has supported creating government or private sector led incubator hubs, youth innovation programs, and science technology parks.  Abuja Technology Village Science and Technology Park, which serves as an example, received the Abuja government support to make the village aim to become a destination for research, incubation, development, and commercialization of Information and Communications Technology.  While actual implementation would still need to be verified, the GoN has also granted a Special Economic Zone status to Abuja Technology Village and other areas to enable duty-free shipments and elimination of labor issues to provide fiscal incentives to investors and entrepreneurs.

The Federal Government recently announced its new ICT Sector Roadmap (2016-2019), with the goal of addressing the key challenges plaguing the ICT sector, and promoting President Buhari’s SMART Digital Nigeria Initiative.  According to the Minster of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, the focus of this policy document includes, to improve infrastructure and quality of service, promote national broadband penetration and security, and support e-commerce.  The policy will also encourage continuity of private sector led continuous innovation and capacity building.  In addition, the roadmap is intended to emphasize SMART Government that is “Social” (interactive with citizens), “Mobile” (adaptive to changing times), “Analytic” (knowledge-driven), “Radically Open” (accountable, transparent, encourages participatory governance), and “Trust” (effective use of ICT to secure cities, critical national infrastructure), Telco infrastructure and other investments, as well as protection of partners’ privacy. 
 
In 2015, the Federal Government signed the cybercrime bill into law to prohibit and prevent computer fraud and protect computer systems, networks and critical national information infrastructure.  Further, MainOne Cable Company and IHS Holding Limited were issued infraco licenses which permit telecom companies to provide infrastructure.  Recently, IHS concluded plans to acquire Helios Towers Limited (HTN), which currently operates 1,212 towers across Nigeria, and this would increase IHS’ towers to 22,600 in 5 West African countries including Nigeria.  American Tower Corporations also secured a deal with Airtel to purchase Airtel’s 4,800 cell towers to manage ICT infrastructure.   According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) statistics, the four GSM network operators (MTN, GLO, Airtel, and Etisalat) had 30,176 base stations in 2014.  To facilitate broadband penetration and make significant improvement of the Quality of Service, Nigeria requires additional 75,000 more base stations and last mile distribution within and around major cities.  In the meantime, the overall cell phone capacity in Nigeria is relatively high due to the number of high-capacity submarine cables landing on Nigerian coastline and backbone fiber optic cables connecting Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, which the major telecom companies leverage to achieve a threshold of 101.45 tele-density.  However, due to limited base stations, the data market has a deficit of 98 percent, as broadband delivery to the “Last Mile” (last end user) is impeded with multiple fees and taxes charged by state and local governments, even though the country has 10 terabytes internet bandwidth capacity provided by undersea cables from Glo 1, MainOne, and South Atlantic 3 (SAT 3). 
 
As part of broadband expansion plan, the GON is exploring investment opportunities in the launch of a third backup satellite for NIGCOMSAT.  The federal government is also seeking private sector “infrastructure” partners in expanding last-mile access.  Further, the GON has submitted the Nigeria Postal Commission Bill which would enable NIPOST to optimize its capacity by leveraging ICT to diversify service and bridge the digital divide in local communities.  A critical dimension of the three-year ICT Sector Roadmap is the implementation of national policies to promote national security and support e-commerce, reduce waste and improve efficiency in governance, block leakages  (piracy and vandalism of infrastructure), protection of intellectual property, and enforcement mechanisms to promote creativity.
 
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) plans to auction 14 licenses of 2.6GHZ frequency spectrum for broadband services to facilitate deployment of high-speed internet services in Nigeria.  The licenses will enable winners to provide broadband services across the country.  
 
In Nigeria, smart devices such as tablets, iPads, iPhones, notebooks and applications that support them, are in hot demand.  Aside from serving as important business tools, they are cherished as important status symbols particularly by business executives, political, religious leaders and Nigerian youth, especially young graduates.
 
In Nigeria's mobile market, MTN maintained the lead in 2015, while Airtel, Etisalat and Glo remained some way behind the market leader.  In August 2015, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) imposed a huge fine on all four mobile networks, as a result of improperly registered SIMs, and MTN carried the largest share of the fine due to its failure to meet the deadline.  

Sub-Sector Best Prospects

Smart devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, point of sale and point of payment have a large and fast-growing market in Nigeria.  Demand will be generated as the CBN implements its cashless policy and electronic banking.  The influence of social media and expansion of the cellular telecommunications infrastructure and services across the country have fueled the marketplace.
 
U.S.-origin equipment is generally considered superior to imports from other countries.  Local entrepreneurs seek opportunities to represent and work with U.S. suppliers of computer parts and peripherals for local assembly of PCs at the Computer Village in Lagos State.  Nigerian importers and end-users, however, prefer suppliers who, in addition to prompt delivery of products, are able to provide timely after-sales support, including spare parts at competitive prices.  Asian competition, however, is fierce, particularly with regard to price and availability of parts.

Opportunities

The United States is the leader in enterprise infrastructure, databases, servers, work stations, and networking.  Nigeria’s efforts to computerize public agencies, increase the utilization of electronic banking, extend broadband infrastructure to major commercial centers and to schools in rural communities, and provide security across the nation offer U.S. exporters of computer hardware, peripherals and software significant opportunities to enter West Africa through its largest and fastest growing market. Computer hardware, peripherals and software meant for security and safety, electronic banking and extension of services such as distance education, telemedicine, and remote monitoring and tracking of movement and systems in support of power generation and management, offer growth opportunities to U.S. firms interested in doing business in Nigeria.  Micro and mini-computers and state-of-the-art printers represent some of the best sales opportunities and will account for the bulk of imports from the U.S. in this sector over the short- and medium-term.
 
Currently, China is the strongest and most aggressive challenge to U.S. market share in this industry sector.  Chinese firms offer a combination of incentives including 90-day credit sales, sponsored training programs, participation in local trade shows, make frequent visits to Nigeria to monitor market trends, and offer partnership/joint ventures for market development.  Chinese firms provide the GON financial incentives and often provide equipment without an initial down payment, but rather with a promise to pay.  Industry leaders and market analysts suggest that U.S. firms need to retool their market development strategies, spend more time and resources on customer support services, sales promotion and appoint more local partners to achieve more success in the market.

Web Resources

http://commtech.gov.ng/
http://www.widernet.org/nigeriaconsult/nuc.htm  
www.nitda.gov.ng
www.ncc.gov.ng  
http://www.jidaw.com/softwareproviders.html
 
For further sector information, e-mail: Joseph Umoetteh, Commercial Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service, Lagos, Nigeria at:  Joseph.Umoetteh@trade.gov.

Local Industry Events

Digital Africa 2016 Conference and Exhibition, International Conference Center, Abuja, Nigeria, June 1-3, 2016
NigeriaCom Conference, Oriental, Lagos, September 21-22, 2016.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.


More Information

Nigeria Information and Communication Technology Trade Development and Promotion