By Emmanuel Elebeke
AS the 14th edition of COMBIT Africa conference and exhibition wound up in Lagos last week, different stakeholders in the information and communication industry who attended the event, agreed that a take home point after all deliberations was the need for the government to use the comparative advantage of the nationâ€™s growing ICT industry to pursue the realization of the nationâ€™s seven point agenda in year 2020.
Their position was that, if Nigeria couldÂ in the past 10 years record such an incredibleÂ exponential economic growth through ICT, then, there was need for the country to consolidate and ensure a sure digital harvest in 2015.
However, participants, noted that to consolidate and even to harvest a digital growth would need a consistent, deliberate and well-articulated policy and full exploitation of her potentials in the sector.
The event which has the theme: â€œLeveraging on Information and Communications Technology to Survive and Thrive through Recession,â€ was directed towards exploiting the existing and hidden opportunities in the ICT sector to boost productivity for the realization of Vision 2020.
In his address, President Yarâ€™ Adua who was represented by the minister of state for information and communications, Alh. Ikra Bilbis acknowledged that Nigeria has vast potentials in ICT necessary to develop human capacity for development.
HeÂ expressed satisfaction at the level which the industry was gaining acceptance among the youths, and called for more interest and devotion in the use of modern technologies for speedy economic growth and development in the country.
President Yarâ€™ Adua also noted that most developing nations had continued to trail behind as a result of late technological transformation of their economy and that such deficiency has contributed immensely to the digital divide between developed and developing nations.
He emphasized the need for developing countries, especially Africans to work in one accord in harnessing the full potentials that ICT presents for development.
While calling for collaboration among nations, the PresidentÂ pledged the governmentâ€™s resolve to creating enabling environment for the use of ICT in providing support for the needed digital transformation.
In his contribution, the Director General ofÂ National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Prof. Cleopas Angaye, said that government alone could not develop ICT in any country without stakeholders support and other relatedÂ activities that could enhance veritable partnership in the global information society.
HeÂ announced that the agency in collaboration with the United Nationâ€™s Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has completed the development of a comprehensive document for Nigeriaâ€™s ICT Industry otherwiseÂ Â known as â€œNigeria ICT4D Planâ€ to assist in solving problems militating against the use ofÂ modern technological tools in Nigeria.
I n his own contribution, the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Engr. Ernest Ndukwe, noted that the occasion was timely because economic development of a nation can onlyÂ be accelerated by improvement in the countyâ€™s ICT infrastructure. He added that no modern economy can exist without an integral information and communications technology infrastructure because ICT according to him provides a veritable platform for development across the social, economic and other sectors if well harnessed.
The EVC said surviving in todayâ€™s information age depends on access to national and global information technology networks, with all the stakeholders playing their role, adding that people, businesses and communities with ready access to information technologies todayÂ are better equipped to participate actively in the global economy.
He noted that the growth and advancement in the sector within the last eight years didnâ€™t only boostÂ Â the economy but had also resulted inÂ the current subscribers base of 69 million active connected lines, leading to the ranking of Nigeria as the largest telecom market in Africa.
He expressed the agencyâ€™s resolve at ensuring rapid broadband development to unleash the countyâ€™s economic potential and promised to make broadband connectivity a key focus for the industry growth.
Earlier in his welcome address, National President of ATCON, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem had challenged everybody to ensure competitive edge deploying ensuring an army of digitally literate people who can put an appreciable volume of ICT devices into use in different organisations and the work places.