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Posted August 22nd, 2006

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The Importance Of Telecommunication In Economic Growth

Humans need communication, and from early history, various means have been used to provide communication at a distance, with radio, telephone, television and computer links (Networks). Which is now an integrated part of the society, it now looks like our need for information is almost as great as our need for energy. Information has been found to be one of the most important elements for the efficient growth of an economy. The electronic transfer mode, which includes broadcasting and telecommunication, plays a very important role in information management. With telecommunication, some of the physical constraints of an organization can be removed in all sectors of the economy. This will allow increased productivity through better management and administration. In a system, the function of telecommunications may be likened to that of the nervous system in a living organism. We all know that without rapid and reliable exchange of information between all parts, effective control and co-ordination of such systems would not be possible. Therefore, optimum use could not be made of the resources available for the development of the system.

In developing countries like Nigeria, until the advent of GSM (Global systems mobile), telecommunication was a big problem because it was affordable only by the rich; Until the Obasanjo administration came in to save the day. It is a well-known fact that some developing countries donít have regard for telecommunication as a relevant or basic infrastructure for growth. Let us now briefly consider the role that telecommunication can play in economic growth under some economic activities.

Primary health care delivery is known all over the world as a programme that is community oriented but operated by large number of semi skilled workers and supervised by highly skilled personnel who, to be effective require telecommunication facilities for monitoring the performance on field. The term "Telecommunication medicine" which is the use of electronic equipment to link physically separated health facilities is now commonplace in developing countries. This system has relevance in our country where we can only boast of about 1 doctor to 8000 patients.

This is one of the most important sectors in the economy. Using mother tongue with the aid of telecommunication (Radio, Television). Farmers in rural areas can be informed future events of natural disasters like thunderstorms, possible earthquakes, flood and destructive pests through the aid of simple meteorological information. They can also be informed on how to avert the dangerous consequences of such natural disasters in the shortest time possible. This system has been known to have been useful for farmers in rural areas, in places like Kenya and Philippines.

There is hardly any other area in human endeavor in which telecommunication can have an impact on its citizenry, than in education. In addition to the program of formal education of the citizens by television, radio, and computer networking (Distant learning), they have now been made more effective both in scope and in quality by use of telecommunication satellite. This is very relevant now that the country has started the distant learning program

Telecommunication has always played a vital role in the transport sector all over the world. It is being used in Hotels/ Airline reservation tickets and management of courier services. It is also used to land and Fly airplanes, it is also effectively used in the management of fleet of vehicles in freight and passenger transport. With telecommunication, it has become possible to programme the movement of human traffic including that of business executives through mobile phones. This technology was introduced to Nigeria by the Obasanjo administration. We can also use this to effectively manage the perennial traffic jams in and out of big cities, which have not been fully exploited for traffic management in these cities.

It is a known fact that all machinery of government depended to a large extent, on information dissemination provided by telecommunication infrastructure and system for greater performance. For example, in these days of electronic welfare, the police require telecommunication to be able to maintain, command and control on land, air, and sea. We all know the great role telecommunication played during the gulf war, which brought general awareness of cable network used in the country.
Similarly, in public administration, telecommunication can play an important role in the coordination of the three tiers of government in Nigeria Local, State and Federal.

Information has shown that telecommunication is a vital tool for economic growth in the society.

Abolarin Damilola Oluwatobi
LeadCity University
Ibadan, Oyo State