By Charles Mgbolu
Stakeholders and industry experts in Nigeria are eagerly awaiting this yearâ€™s New Partnership for Africaâ€™s Development NEPADâ€™s communications technologies (ICT) Africa Summit 2010 taking place in the second week of August in Cape Town , South Africa. They are however saying that these summits and meetings which are almost beginning to tow each other in line should finally begin to leave lasting effects on the poor masses.
The New Partnership for Africaâ€™s Development (NEPAD) is a comprehensive integrated sustainable development initiative for the economic and social revival of Africa. It is a pledge by African leaders, based on a common vision and shared conviction that they have a pressing duty to the African people to eradicate poverty and to place their countries, both individually and collectively, on the path of sustainable growth and development, at the same time, to participate actively in the world economy and body politic.
In just three years after Nigeria joined the rest of the world in the Global System of telecommunication popularly known as GSM in August 2001, it had become the Telecom hotspot for both telecom operators and equipment suppliers – Internet, GSM, cable, fixed wireless, VSAT, IP telephony.
Nigeria had stunned the world and had become a massive market place. Today, business economic potentials of these companies and their brand names have swollen just because theyâ€™ed ventured unto Nigerian soil. But these industry analysts and observers who have responded to Cyberlifeâ€™s enquiry say the situation has not been the same for the Nigerian economy.
â€œIt has instead gone worse!â€ says a Mr Victor Okeke, an IT systems analysts â€œInitially these telecom investors and businesses had swarmed in and plucked off a lot of our graduates and ordinary populace off the streets and given them jobs or some form of livelihood but now more than 80% of them are back on these streets and leaving in abject povertyâ€
Mr Patrick Isiakponam says â€œEveryday i read of one IT summit or the other in their fourth or fifth editions taking place either in Nigeria or in some other African country with deafening promises to speedily turn around the poor situations of host African nations and their economies. We are yet to see any meaningful resultâ€
Mrs Sarah Aniacolim a regular with Cyberlife says â€œJust two weeks ago it was the turn of the West African Information and Communications Technology Congress (WAFICT).
The people involved in these summits must realise that summits are not just to point out the problems that this sector is being bedevilled with and only give advices at the end of their keynote speeches No. Instead practicable programmes should be fashioned out to move the hands of authorities involved to speedily actualise the dreams of the many nations of this continentâ€
â€œNo one is saying that these summits are a bad ideaâ€ says another analyst who pleaded anonymity â€œBut when year after year, with endless deliberations, sessions and talks nothing meaningful is seen despite itâ€™s wildly publiced aims and objectives then the very essence of the summit is begin to be questionedâ€
The organisers of the NEPAD ICT African summit have said that in order to encourage further growth and development in African countries the event would be addressing a wide range of ICT issues in Africa.
According to reports, the event also aims to mobilize the major practitioners and stakeholders involved in ICT, e-business and related sectors globally. Delegates at the event would be given the opportunity to participate at one of the breakaway sessions and contribute to various discussions.
â€œWe are committed to creating platforms that bring about economic development for the continent. With such a vision, the company has been working with various stakeholders and economic development practitioners in Africa in identifying critical areas that require further engagement to fast track the continents economic development, ICT is one of these critical componentsâ€, organisers added.
Analysts sincerely hope these comments will materialise into reality and be one day enjoyed by Nigerians and indeed every African on the continent.