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Internet exposure forced down Nigeria’s poverty rate by 7% – World Bank

Improved exposure to Internet and other online materials led to a reduction of poverty rate in Nigeria and Tanzania by 7 per cent, the World Bank has said.

The World Bank stated this in a new brief titled, “Digital transformation drives development in Africa,” noting that the exposure also led to an increase of 8 per cent in labour force participation and wage employment.

According to the bank, “In 2023, a World Bank flagship report found that in Nigeria and Tanzania, extreme poverty declined by about seven per cent after three or more years of exposure to internet coverage, while labour force participation and wage employment increased by up to eight per cent.”

In the brief, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa, Andrew Dabalen, was quoted as saying, “The minimal usage of mobile internet is a lost opportunity for inclusive growth in Africa. Closing the uptake gap would increase the continent’s potential to create jobs for its growing population and boost economic recovery in a highly digitalised world.”

The brief further highlights that over the past five years (2016-2021), sub-Saharan Africa experienced an extraordinary 115 per cent increase in internet users, a change that has been instrumental in spurring economic growth, fostering innovation, and creating job opportunities.

It added that, “The region’s digital infrastructure coverage, access, and quality still lag other regions. At the end of 2021, while 84 per cent of people in SSA lived in areas where 3G service was available, and 63 per cent had access to 4G mobile coverage, only 22 per cent were using mobile internet services.

“The gap between coverage and usage is similarly large for broadband, with 61 per cent of people in sub-Saharan Africa living within the broadband range but not using it.”

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