Minister sees ICT employ 40 million Nigerians
If well harnessed, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), especially the tools and devices, software solutions, outsourcing and electronic commerce could employ over 40 million Nigerians and contribute billions of dollars to the economy.
The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, disclosed this at the weekend in Lagos, while commissioning the Huawei’s Innovation and Experience Centre and the joint Huawei/University of Lagos CSIC centre.
Shittu, who said globally ICT has been credited for changing the course of history and adding value to human lives in many ways, stressed that the technology sector currently provides more employments than the oil and gas sector.
According to Shittu, the time has come to fully embrace ICT to enhance “our lives, enhance transparency and good governance if we really are to fulfill the ‘Change’ mandate that Nigerians voted President Muhammadu Buhari to bring about.
“ICT has come a long way and is currently contributing about 10 per cent to GDP as Oil and Gas. It is arguably one of the fastest growing sectors of the Nigerian economy and is the second largest ICT market in Africa. ICT, which already employs more Nigerians than oil and gas sector is poised to drive growth. Industry analysts suggest that the ICT tools and devices, software solution, IT outsourcing and e-Commerce sector alone could employ over 40 million Nigerians and contribute billions of dollars to our economy when appropriately channeled and nurtured.”
Adebayo beckoned on Huawei Technologies to assist in boosting capacities of local ICT firms in the industry by sharing its expertise to enhance service delivery and functionality in Nigeria.
With regard to efforts to unlock ICT potential, the Minister informed that the Nigerian government and Huawei have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to accelerate the sector’s ecosystem.He said there is also another MoU with Huawei, which is capable of creating over 2000 ICT training jobs for young Nigerians.
According to him, there is no doubt that Huawei has become a strategic partner to the Nigerian government in ICT planning and development, “I believe that you will continue to expand your contributions and training programmes in Nigeria. The country needs the best strategic partnership in ICT and only the best is good enough for Nigeria. It is with great expectations that I therefore declare this Huawei Innovation and Experience Centre open.”
The Managing Director of Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Ltd., Frank Li, informed that the firm is dedicated to fuelling industry innovation that is driven by both customer needs and new technologies. He stressed that Huawei will continuously adhere to its strategic focus, investment, and the relentless pursuit of strategic breakthrough to face all challenges together with its partners.
He further stressed that the continuous investment and resources will be put into ICT innovation to drive the digital economy in Nigeria and in other African countries.
According to him, the Innovation and Experience Centre will also serve as a training platform to nurture more ICT talents thus Huawei Technologies will sign a Joint Innovation MoU with UniLag for this purpose.
Meanwhile, the Consular General, Federal Republic of China in Lagos, Chao Xiaoliang, said Huawei is one of the Chinese companies that have grown rapidly in the last 40 years of the country’s development.
According to him, people from all over the world can learn that China is not only the world manufacturer, but also a future designer.He said China and Nigeria are strategic partners and even share the same National Day.
Xiaoliang said: “We have realised that the sweetness of the fruits from our mutually beneficial cooperation for many years. Under the backdrop of sluggish world economy China is restructuring its industries while Nigeria is diversifying it’s economy. The highly complementary economies and development strategies of our two countries will ensure that our cooperation would achieve win-win results.”