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Uwaje calls for more investments in ICT research, development in 2019


Chris Uwaje

If Nigeria’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) ecosystem must be vibrant in 2019, lots of investments must be challenged towards research and development.

Giving this charge, the Director-General, Delta State Innovation Hub (DSHuB), Chris Uwaje, noted that winner nations in ICT development Ecosystem will be those who significantly increase their spend in infrastructure, R&D, innovation and discovery.

Making reference to World Bank report 2017-18, which showed that Nigeria is in gross deficit in ICT investment in skills development and others, Uwaje, a former president of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), said moreover, the miniaturized structure, capability and corporate human resource capacity of Nigerian ICT firms makes them grossly inadequate and under par (with an average of less than 100 Human Resources per company.

“The largest is less than active 400 skilled staff) to globally compete, engage and deliver best of breed high-end projects and services,” he stressed.Above all, Uwaje called for IT legislation with particular reference to national software strategy, which he said is currently non-existent in the country.

On new technologies, the DSHuB chief, observed that as the acceleration of the ICT ecosystem heats up with Artificial Intelligence, Machine to Machine, robotics, cloud, broadband IoT/IPv6, cyber-security and many more, “our IT education platform needs a lot catch-up to master the ropes. And mastering the roaps requires the radical fusion of Local and Diaspora IT competences.”

Uwaje said the country needed to transform its current ICT Institutions into a mega platform. “Recognizing that we have the HR with awesome IP, time is ripe to fuss them rather than leaving them to operate and function in silos. Innovation is about fusion of IP for the greater good of our collective destiny.”

Going forward, the former ISPON president said “two critical things become imperative: first, declaration of the state of IT emergency through political will by establishing the office of the IT/ICT General of the Federation with mandate to focus on software as our technology development core competence and creation of wealth, .This incorporates the creation of a standard e-Government Academy to retool the Civil Service and critical National workforce.

“Secondly, establish a Brain-gain Diaspora Enclave (an Innovation and Discovery Tech. Village Lab.) with capacity to house a minimum of 100,000 IT Nerdes of locals and Diaspora tech. Disrupters to Innovate Africa’s future. This requires setting a budgetary Framework to ensuring that 10 per cent of the national budget is allocated and religiously disbursed to ICT development in the next 10 years. The benefit of this strategy is that the RoI translates to multiplying the GDP contribution of ICT by over 50 per cent, apart from the creation of massive employment for Nigerian youths to innovate and secure the future digital security and survivability of Nigeria and indeed Africa.”

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