According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Sector has retained its earlier position as the sector with the highest growth rate of all the main sectors of the Nigerian economy in the first quarter of 2021 (Q1 2021), having contributed significantly to the GDP with as high as 17.83% in 2020. The call for collaboration among stakeholders within the sector has, therefore, become louder considering the sector’s ability to sustain itself effectively and its potential in improving the national economy.
Furthermore, in recent times, telecommunications and technology products and services have become a vital need for humans, just as they also play an integral role in connecting businesses and transmitting and processing information across the globe. This fundamental benefit provides an opportunity for the sector to become a force for positive change. However, the information and communication technology sector is not immune to the numerous factors influencing the business landscape; one of which is the consistent drive for sustainability and sustainable business practices.
According to research, the emissions generated by the sector is experiencing an upward trajectory, with developing countries such as Nigeria being major contributors. Similarly, this sector is the major contributor of radiation and other environmental pollutants. Moreover, investment in infrastructure is projected to increase significantly to serve underserved areas and the needs of an increasing population and a technology savvy generation.
Collaboration involves the coming together of various organisations to collectively focus their expertise and resources on an issue of importance. SDG 17 – Partnership for the Goals – promotes the spread of information and communication technology and global interconnectedness to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies. Partnerships between governments, the commercial sector, and civil society, locally, regionally, and globally are important and required for a successful sustainable development strategy in this regard.
Collaboration between organisations must, therefore, include a well-defined, mutually beneficial connection with the goal of achieving common objectives. A commitment to mutual goals and relationships, a jointly designed framework and shared responsibility, mutual authority and accountability for success, and resource and reward sharing are all part of what partnerships entail. The Sustainable Development Goal 17 – Partnership for the Goals – promotes the spread of information and communication technology and global interconnectedness to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies, and these goals are a good starting point for telecommunications and technology companies which seek to work together.
This is why the Telecommunications and Technology Sustainability Working Group – a leading collaborative private sector advocacy organisation in Nigeria aimed at yielding joint action among key telecommunications and technology stakeholders through various strategic partnerships, policy formulation/advocacy, events, and programmes – was formed by sector leaders – MTN, SystemSpecs, Airtel, Zinox and IHS – was formed to address various business and national issues by mobilising human and material capital available to stakeholders in the focus sector to ensure sustainable practices that benefit the sector and the country at large.
Indeed, partnerships between governments, the commercial sector, and civil society are required for a successful sustainable development strategy. At the global, regional, national, and local levels, inclusive partnerships based on principles and values, a shared vision, and shared goals that prioritise the equitable governance of people and the environment are required.