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ICT Expo identifies opportunity in Africa’s mobile market

By Chike onwuegbuchi
08 September 2017   |   4:00 am
The 3rd Indo-Africa ICT Expo 2017, held in Lagos after a change of the host city from Nairobi, say the continent is on the cusp of development because global organisations are looking at Africa for ICT opportunities...

The 3rd Indo-Africa ICT Expo 2017, held in Lagos after a change of the host city from Nairobi, say the continent is on the cusp of development because global organisations are looking at Africa for ICT opportunities – specifically within the continent’s mobile market.

Manoj Sinha, India’s Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Communications, said India has emerged as one of the prominent trade partners that can help African businesses grow.

“IT and telecoms form the backbone for the growth of any country and Africa has been one of the fastest growing markets worldwide in ICT adoption and communication technology. In recognition of the relationship and commitment between India and African countries, the government of India has proposed to host the 3rd edition of Indo-Africa ICT Expo 2017 in conjunction with IT and Telecoms Summit.”

Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications, said that the Government recognizes ICTs as one of the key drivers of the economy.

“To this end, ICT has been factored in all national long-term development blue-prints that aim at transforming Nigeria into a knowledge economy by 2020. We have developed a National ICT strategic Roadmap whose aim is to provide a systematic approach to harnessing the power of ICTs across all sectors of the economy.”

“Our commitment towards ICT innovations has made Nigeria well known in the tech space. Today, we have over 145 million mobile subscribers, representing a penetration of 85.5% while Internet penetration rate stands at about 70%. More undersea fiber optic cables are landing and increasing our international connectivity to other region, resulting in better, reliable and fairly affordable Broadband connectivity. These achievements are attributable to partnerships and collaboration between the public, the private sector and international stakeholders.”

The 2017 Indo-Africa drew representatives from over 300 ICT companies based in India and Africa.

India’s Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC), which is working with the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), to put the event together, said: “With increasing IT investments across Africa and the proliferation of smartphones, Big Data is also on the radar of many businesses and telcos in the region seeking ICT opportunities. There is also huge business potential arising in segments such as products and services related to mobility, security solutions, e-commerce, microsite development, billing and enterprise solutions. Huge needs in areas of e-governance, education, security, health-care and across private sectors are driving demand for ICT in Africa and other key verticals include BFSI, tourism, telecom and capacity building.”

“There are many opportunities around which we look to create productive and winning relationships with India, through investment and work on the synergies that exist between infrastructure, regional integration, the regulation of enterprises, skills development and employment, agriculture, health and innovation. In each of these areas I see the prospect for greater cooperation and collaboration with India, an inveterate and committed investor in Africa.”

Research conducted by India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) and Exim Bank Analysis shows that India’s bilateral trade with Africa has risen five-fold in the last decade, from US$ 11.9 billion in 2005-06 to US$ 56.7 billion in 2015-16.
The research also shows that from 1996-2016, Africa accounted for nearly one-fifth of Indian overseas direct investments, with Mauritius, Mozambique, Sudan, Egypt and South Africa as the lead investment destinations.