Nigeria telecoms: the good old days?

Author:Akin, Alex Cameron
Position:This Month's Prize Letter - Letter to the Editor

Congratulations on your coverage of the ITU Telecom Africa 2004 conference in Cairo (African Business May 2004). As an investor with nearly 30% of my portfolio in technology and telecom stocks, and unable to get to Cairo myself, I read all the magazines that I could find that covered the event. It struck me that your preview was definitely the best analysis. What I found useful was that the article was not simply written on the basis of one journalist's opinion but provided a wide range of commentary from industry experts.


Just one point regarding your profile of telecoms in Nigeria: you quote Jaco Botha who tells us that in Nigeria, when all we had was a fixed-line telephone network, "if you needed to do business with someone you had to drive to their office to set up the meeting, go back to your office and then drive back when the meeting was to take place".

In fact, in those days, many Nigeria-based businessmen, myself included, relied on overseas friends and colleagues to communicate with others in Nigeria. That was because while Nigeria's national telephone network rarely functioned properly, if at all, both outgoing and incoming international calls invariably got through.

So, if I...

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