For the gains of Information Communications Technology (ICT) to be maximized in Nigeria and Africa, focus should be placed on ‘needs’ and ‘competition’ as crucial drivers of the industry while a shift to ‘cloud computing and ‘mobile computing’ must be emphasized.
Also, ICT has been identified as a tool and method whereby a developing country such as Nigeria can be developed.
The Guest Speaker for the Nigeria @ 50 Independence Anniversary Lecture, Mr. Fidelis Umeh, made these known on Tuesday, 14th September, 2010 in his lecture paper titled “ICT Age: Its Implication for Nigeria and Africa delivered at the Ecowas Parliament, International Conference, Centre, Abuja.
According to Umeh, Nigeria is moving in the right direction and closing its ICT gap. He said if the country could sustain its ICT initiatives, it would soon meet up with countries such as India.
He said if the right things were done in Nigeria, with the resources at its disposal, the country, without question, is unstoppable as the country had what he
termed entrepreneurial spirit.
The U.S based Nigerian further pointed out that for Nigeria to stay abreast of the technology of the future, the country needs to improve on its broadband access and make facilities more affordable coupled with the sustenance of 2 digit growth rate in I.T per year.
He however frowned at some organizations that had taken advantage of the ICT revolution by reducing the quality of services in some sectors such as obtained in online education.
Umeh further stated that the ICT industry has the potential to grow in Nigeria thereby creating wealth for the people of the nation.
In his remarks, Nigerian Vice President, Arc. Namadi Sambo, said the lecture as one of Anniversary’s main events was apt as it would stir the drive towards the nation’s quest for a place amongst the world’s leading economic and industrialized nations.
“There is no doubt that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) holds the key to the solution house of mankind’s various needs, be it socio-economic, political, diplomatic, and even national security. Any nation that is not on the same page with the rest of the world will soon find itself in a lamentable plight. Nigeria and indeed Africa are conscious of this truism as well as the problems associated with it and are committed to emphatically addressing the challenge of the ICT age”, Sambo stated.
The Vice President who was represented at the event by Interior Minister, Capt. Emmanuel Ihenacho assured that Nigeria will continue to accord ICT development a priority status, and will see to the continuous evolvement of policies and programmes for its sustainable growth.
Sambo noted that “In 50 years Nigeria has done well. We overcame the teething problems of a new independent nation, and have upheld our unity and progress.”
“In the International scene, Nigeria has continued to play commendable roles towards the sustenance of world peace, even at great costs to it. We remain undaunted and will continue to strive for excellence in the discharge of our obligations both at home and abroad”, Vice President Sambo added.
Also speaking, Minister for Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, said “While experts continue to lament the gap between us and the developed world with regard to ICT penetration, the evidence is that the use of ICT in Nigeria and indeed, the African continent, has grown dramatically, especially over the past decade.
“According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU)’s Information Society Statistical Profiles 2009 – Africa Report – By the end of 2008, Africa had 246 million mobile subscriptions and mobile penetration had risen from just five per cent in 2003 to well over 30 percent.
“Likewise a recent report by Internetworldstats.com confirmed that internet penetration in Africa grew 1,100 percent from 2000 to 2008. The report put the number of people online in the continent at 54 million, representing a penetration of 5.6”, Akunyili stated.
The Minister meanwhile pointed out that, while there is much enthusiasm to see Nigeria catch up with the rest of the world in ICT development and usage, the Federal Government is committed to the promotion of responsible ICT use.
“It is the belief of this administration that ICT should be put to positive and not negative use. This is more demonstrated with the introduction of GSM Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) registration. Government is committed to the full implementation of this scheme due to its likely impact on the war against ICT-related crimes”, Akunyili said.
In his vote of thanks, the Chairman, Image and Public Awareness Sub-Committee, Nigeria @ 50, Mr. Charles Chikezie, said a nation such as Nigeria which has produced innumerable icons in many sectors really needs to ponder the implications of the ICT age to its well being and the well being of its citizens.
Chikezie thanked the people of the country for remaining steadfast and patriotic, for believing in themselves and for uplifting their nation. He also appreciated the friends of Nigeria who have all these years supported, and are celebrating with her.