By EMMA ELEBEKE
The Business Machines Corporation, and American multinational technology and consulting corporation, IBM says it has concluded arrangement to establish two software incubation centres in Nigeria, before the end of first quarter of 2014.
President /CEO of the company, Ms. Virginia Ginny Rometty, disclosed this on Monday when she led the company’s delegation on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson.
Rometty said that the centres, when completed, will help in the overall development of the nation’s human capital and the economy.
She noted that the visit was informed by the commitment of the company to Africa and Nigeria in particular, in order to make their focal point for growth in the next decade.
“We have a long term commitment to this continent and Nigeria. I have actually selected Africa and in Nigeria especially to make our focal point for growth in the next decade and we have invested both in people and in skills and in some of our most precious resources such as innovation and research Centres to be on this continent.
“In fact Nigeria is our hub for Africa. So one of our purposes of visiting the Minister today is to talk about something called the Innovation hub that we shall be opening in the first quarter of 2014 and it will be focused on key industries such as in banking, telecommunications, government, oil and gas solution”
The IBM boss, who expressed optimism in the future of Africa and Nigeria in the area of ICT development, said the company would continue to do more by investing in the economy.
In her remark, the Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson said the visit was necessary as it would offer the ministry more opportunity to leverage on what IBM is doing to increase the penetration of ICT skills and knowledge in the country.
“Our meeting with IBM today is to help accelerate the development of Nigeria as an important hub of global ICT centre. First of all, it will get more Nigerians into the ICT and also establishing innovation Centres in two locations across the country, that will help solve some of the biggest challenges that we have using technology.”
When established, the Minister said that the centre would offer more Nigerians a lot more opportunity to access ICT and promised to give the company all the necessary support it desires.
“This ICT development and programmes will help accelerate the development of this country. “This innovative will really help us to begin to think of innovative ways of how to bring ICT with many of the challenges that we are faced with today.
“IBM as a big company spends so much on research every year and they are to bring that expertise to support the development of Nigeria,” she said.
On the number of Nigerians that will benefit from the centres, Johnson said “What we are actually doing, is that we are trying to develop ICT skills all around the economy which runs into thousands of numbers, that will make impact in the country. Even though, we have not set a target in terms of how many people that we are going to empower with these Centres.
“Our intention is to give more young Nigerians broader based ICT skills because research has shown that most of the jobs that are going to be created in the country will around ICT services. And so it is important for us to build these skills in their thousands,’’ said the Minister.