By Emeka Aginam
Ahead of the e-Nigeria international conferenceÂ devoted to setting goals and best practices in the areas of ICT development in the country, its promoters, the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, said that the event is expected to retool Nigeria in global e-readiness ranking.
The External Relations, Media and Publicity Committee of NITDA Board, Hon. Victor Ebomoyi,Â who led a team of NITDAÂ members on a courtesy visit to Vanguard Corporate office in Lagos,Â Monday, told Vanguard editorial members that NITDAâ€™s flagship event would bring together leading researchers and practitioners worldwide to brainstorm on the latest development in ICT and how toÂ leverage on these developments of the countryâ€™s sustainableÂ socio-economic development.
He said the summit is expected to provide framework for conscious, concerted and guided effort towards ensuring the upward movement of Nigeria in the global e-readiness ranking.
With ”Nigerian ICT4D : Implication for Vision 20-2020” as the theme, he said theÂ summit is aimed at examiningÂ how IT could be used to drive the Federal Governmentâ€™sÂ seven-point agenda towards achieving Vision 20:2020.
Specific sectors of the economy to be addressed, according to him,Â will include: agriculture, education, infrastructure-government, healthcare delivery, human capital development, security/law enforcement, legal framework and legislation, PPP as well as IT popularisation and awareness.
â€œThe focus of the summit is the outcome of the ICT4D document produced in collaboration with the United Nationsâ€™s Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA.
The document has specific actions and programme with time lines as well as stakeholders for implementations.
We can do itâ€”Uwaje
On the occasion, the Oracle of the Nigerian IT industry, Chris Uwaje, who is also the President of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, ISPON, noted that the forum will, among other things, position Nigeria as a key player in the global information society and improve the nationâ€™s global IT ranking.
â€œTime is running out. We must begin to prepare for global competitiveness by engaging in IT capacity-building. The conference will be another wake-up call for the country to give IT development priority attention.
“The conference will be a veritable platform for creating the requisite awareness and setting the agenda for implementation of Nigeriaâ€™s ICT4D plans among all stakeholders in the Nigerian IT industry which is now the toast of global community. We can do it, â€ Uwaje, who is very passionate about youth development in IT, said.
To provideÂ a framework on the application of IT to drive federal governmentâ€™s 7-points agenda in order to achieve vision 20-2020, plug into global, regional and national policies or initiatives aimed at reducing poverty and advancing human development, identify and explore ICT opportunities for human capital development, trade, investment and fiance, creating an enabling environment that will facilitate private sector investment as well as encourage public -private partnership in all sectors of the economy, Uwaje said are part of the objectives of the summit that is expected to attract over 500 participants from both private and public sectors of the three tiers of government in Nigeria and also from international community.
The National Information Technology Development Agency is the clearing house for IT projects in the public sector. The Agency is committed to the drive to bring government and its services closer to the people through IT. Entrusted with the implementation of the National IT policy, which seeks to make Nigeria an IT capable country in no distant future, NITDA has been mandated to supervise the management of the country code Top Level Domain as a national resource.
The mandate of NITDA are not limited to the following:
* Operate and implement the National IT policy and to give effect to provisions of the national information Technlongy Development Agency Act of 2007
* Ensure that the entire citizenry is empowered with information technologies through the development of a critical mass of IT proficient and globally competitive manpower;
* Enter into strategiec alliance with the private sector as well as international organizations for the actualization of the IT vision.
Develop and regulate the Information Technology Sector in Nigeria, among others.