Potential

Abuja, April 9, 2019 Mr Jimson Olufuye, former President, African Information Communication Technology Alliance (AfICTA) said on Tuesday that Africa had huge potential in internet development and wealth creation that could be sustained with good governance.

Olufuye said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja.

According to him, lots of youths within the continent are developing applications and technology that are re-positioning it on the path of digital development.

The AfICTA former boss said that digital development in Nigeria robbed off on other African countries, being the largest country in the continent.

“Africa has huge potential in internet development, internet governance, wealth creation, internet business, e-commerce; and this huge potential can really be sustained with good governance.

“We are happy that in Nigeria, we have a stable democracy so far; and other African countries where there is stability in governance, there is relative progress.

“Nigeria has the largest number of people on the internet today, which translates to the digital drive for development to other African countries.

“I see great hope for digital transformation across Africa because young people are using technology to come up with businesses and ventures,’’ Olufuye said.

According to him, government needs to enforce compliance and create the enabling environment, to boost local content and Executive Orders for the development of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.

Olufuye noted that ICT had the capacity to generate up to 1 trillion dollars as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Nigeria in 2020 but doubted if that would be possible.

“Our current GDP hovers around 420 billion dollars. I did an analysis eight years ago and I indicated that Nigeria should be hitting about 1 trillion dollars as GDP by next year.

“Most likely we are not going to get there because we missed opportunities. We had huge revenue from oil and we couldn’t use it well.

“Charity should begin at home especially with the government.  The Executive Orders are good.

“We need more of such Executive Orders that will compel government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to do the right thing.

“If the enabling environment is there, it will avail the opportunity for entrepreneurs to use resources available.

“Nigerians are resourceful people with serious tenacity but needs the enabling environment,’’ he said.

Olufuye said that before the re-basing of the country’s economy in 2013, sectors like the telecommunications, movies and retail were not captured.

He noted that about 90 per cent was attributed to those sectors which, if done earlier, will translate to the 1 trillion dollars GDP by 2020.

The former AfICTA chief, however, said that the current government is on the right path.

According to him, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is giving funds to regional infrastructure companies to increase connectivity.

“The current administration is doing well by trying to boost our local content.

“NCC is giving funds to the regional Infraco in the subsidised roll out; and I believe it will go a long way to really unlock more potential for the use of local content and resources.

“A lot of our youths are developing apps and there are diverse applications coming up. We just need the bandwidth, connectivity to get more people to look inward,’’ Olufuye said.