The Sun News by Olabasi Olaleye
October 14, 2014
Nigeria gross domestic product (GDP), is expected to increase by another 20 percent to make it a competitive Information and Communication Technology hub through foreign investments shortly after the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) holding in Dubai, the United Arab Emirate.
This was revealed yesterday (Sunday) by the Director General of the National Information and Technology Development Agency,(NITDA), Mr. Peter Jack shortly after the flagging off the five –day event at the Dubai World Trade Centre by the Dubai’s crowned prince, Sheik Hamddan Al-maktoum.
According to him, by being a partnering country, Nigeria has huge opportunities to leverage and tap from foreign investments that could further propel the country’s GDP by some percentage.
Said he: “What we are trying to do is to attract substantial investment in the ICT sector. It is obvious that Dubai has an initiative of internet model and smart tech. Where we are now is that Nigeria has substantial capacity, which is not being properly harnessed. The moment we can harness that capacity, we should be able to deliver internet connectivity across the country. By the time, we go from here, we expect a substantial increase in the utilization of internet usage in the country.
“This is an opportunity to share with the world, the ICT sector in the country, because of that we have come with young start-ups entrepreneurs and seasoned ICT players in the industry. There is a strong showing of the government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAS) at this year’s exhibition”.
NITDA is an arm of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), established by the Act in 2007, primarily to create a frame work for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of IT practices, activities and systems in Nigeria.
Jack maintained that GITEX will showcase Nigeria as Africa’s gateway for technology investment opportunities. Adding that the country is looking at investment in infrastructure, in original equipment manufacturers (OEMS) that will support local manufacturers as well as those who will support the country’s start-ups, who are the young innovators. While projecting that NITDA is thinking of the actualisation of a digital coast just as it is located in the United States of America.
“One of the project that is really interesting to all of us is the Lagos Smart city initiative, which is the Lekki free zone area. At NITDA, we dream of a digital coast as we have in the United States of America. The digital coast will start from Lagos through Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and end up in Cross River, Tinapa knowledge city. The reality is that we are looking at the potential to attract investors along these digital coasts. We are looking and working towards creating an ecosystem in the ICT sector and investment will be across board not just in one area. What we are also doing is to recognise the need for capacity building that will produce the best level of software that can be found. We need some levels of investment that will take Nigeria to the next level”.
Meanwhile, the Consul General to Dubai, Ambassador Dr Mike Omotosho also disclosed that NITDA has put together a laudable programme that is quite significant for the consulate, saying, “Why this significant for us is basically because we are just celebrating our one year existence .The consulate was created in October 3013, and NITDA is coming with a huge change with the exhibition. It takes all for Nigeria to be present in GITEX to showcase her technology skill, which is match able anywhere in the world.
“Nigeria and Dubai are formidable in terms of ICT and when we come together, we share experiences and compare notes for future use. This event is going to be a partnership that is far from learning, “he said.