IT NEWS NIGERIA:
* if we do not take rapid steps to entre global ICT value chain we will become poor individually and as a country in the near future
Stakeholders have called for political will and enabling environment on the part of government to promote information and communication technology (ICT) in Nigeria as the future belongs to those who can create and innovate especially if the country wishes to be globally competitive in the future.
That was the consensus among the stakeholders at the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) organised Emerging Technologies Research And ICT Innovation Forum at the University of Lagos Monday.
They agree that if we do not take rapid steps to entre global ICT value chain we will become poor individually and as a country. And that we need to come up with policies incentives that will enable our companies to grow and export to other markets.
In his address, EVC/CEO, NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta said at the opening of a two-day maiden edition of the event that the aim of the Forum is tracking progress and agree future plans in order to speed up Nigeria’s competitiveness on global stage.
Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, NCC, Mrs. Yetunde Akinloye, stated the reason for starting the Forum, as follows:
“The ICT Innovation Forum has become necessary to promote local content, with emphasis on the Tech ecosystem, identifying unmet needs and facilitate Public Private Partnership”.
He went on to emphasise the importance of the Forum, stating that, “with the growing pressure of realization, every government, as well as, captains of industries, are charged with the burden of finding ways, to ensure that we remain competitive and capable of fulfilling local demand”.
He also stated the need to enhance the ability of indigenous companies to, maximally explore and exploit local opportunities, as well as, remain globally competitive.
“This Forum has targeted participation by broad spectrum of stakeholders with the aim, also, to foster collaboration and value creating partnerships, among the stakeholders”.
The keynote speaker at the Forum , Chief Executive Officer, MainOne, Ms Funke Opeke said as a country “we have no choice but to do the tech thing. Artificial intelligence, Blockchain, these are the future. We must ensure access to skill, ensure barriers are lowered and ensure the kind of support our young population need are not too high. Nigeria needs to change some of our policies and laws to support ICT.”
Opeke who spoke on ‘Developing Nigeria’s Tech Ecosystem; Imperative for Improving Local Content’ said Startups need to be encouraged and subsidized with tax incentives, grants, etc., to further assist them, in providing scalable, local content that can, also scale globally.
“Focusing on agriculture, oil and gas; manufacturing and other sectors without requisite technology will do the economy no good. “We need to be mindful of capital. Startups face a lot of challenging to upscale because while the market can’t afford the services, they (startups) face issues in raising funds.
“This limits our (startups) ability to scale their services and become globally competitive. “Now, innovation hubs are helpful because they are modelling our system to reflect the likes of silicon valley where startups are provided with electricity (which is a big issue), ease of transport, office maintenance, investment burdens, build prototypes, access to technology, incubation processes and assist them in raising seed funding”.
Speaking as panel chair, President, Nigeria Computer Society & Dean Faculty of Technology Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife, Professor Adeshola Aderounmu said Nigeria as country must as matter of urgency we need to come up with policies incentives that will enable our companies to grow and export to other markets.
Nigeria must take important steps to entre global ICT value chain as failure to do that would spell poverty for its citizens in the future.