Fr. Jacob Dankasa – My Blog

Archive for March 2009

Latest statistics show Nigeria ranking second in Internet Usage in the whole of Africa after Egypt. In a 2009 data released by Internet World Stats, the number of Internet Users in Nigeria has risen from 200, 000 in 2000 to about 10,000,000 at the end of 2008. This shows an increase in Internet usage of about 4,900% (www.internetworldstats.com). This indicates remarkable growth. However, considering the importance of the internet today and the fact that Nigeria has a growing population of over 140 million people, this number is by far below average. It means that only 6.8% of Nigerians are Internet users.
Governments of African countries have to focus greater attention in making the continent technology efficient looking at the turn of events in world politics today. Cyber communication is used in almost every sphere of interactions in international matters. The way governments relate to governments of different nations, the way news and information are distributed and the way commerce is carried out have all changed, thanks to the Internet. Those who are equipped with greater technology seem to benefit more from the present information revolution. Countries like Japan, America and Western Europe are at the Apex of framing what constitute international issues today. What becomes world news is whatever the transnational translate to us and these are mainly concentrated in the industrialized countries. The Internet gives access to personalized media and people of all orientations can make their voices heard through the use of the Internet. The activities of bloggers are few examples of such. Those who have greater access to the Internet have better chances of participating in information flow and dominating the scenario of international politics.
There are major international concerns on Africa in respect to the development of cyber news and global economic and political issues; “experts warn that unless Africa gets online quickly, what is already the world’s poorest continent risks ever-greater marginalization” (Hachten and Scotten, 2007). Our problem in Africa is not that we do not want the new media, but we lack the necessary economic and social infrastructure to maintain the system; or better put, our governments are either late majority or laggards when it comes to new innovations. Late majority are skeptics who only adopt new innovation because of economic or increasing network pressure (Severin &Tankard, 2001); while Laggards are traditional-minded people whose point of reference is the past and very reluctant to adopt new ideas. African governments have to make Internet technology a priority or else we will be cut off from a lot of things that matter. At present Africa accounts to about 3.4% of the entire world’s Internet users (www.internetworldstats.com) a staggering low rate.
The internet is a major contributor to economic growth of nations at this time. People carry out businesses through the internet, shop online, and carry out activities online that will save cost and time and at the same time boost the economy of a nation. I look forward to seeing a Nigeria where people can stay at home, order a product and get it right on their door without the usual hustle and bustle of market rush; or a Nigeria where majority of our people are stake holders in the contribution towards national and international issues, where people have a say on any issue that concerns them devoid of the usual editorializing and filtering of self-interested gate keepers. Our government must know that nations that do better in national and international affairs are those whose dominant culture and ideas are closer to prevailing global norms and have most access to multiple channels of communication so as to have more influence over how issues are framed (Joseph S. Nye, 2002). Citizens have greater roles in contributing to these issues. This calls for patience and tolerance on the side of government to open itself to scrutiny. Most governments who apply this openness do better. Freedom of the press therefore is sacrosanct to effective democratic and nation building. Our government must move towards making Nigeria an Internet efficient country.

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