By Prince Osuagwu
Smarting from the opening of a multi billion naira technology gadgets factory in Osun state Nigeria, Chairman of rlg communications, Mr Roland Aganbire last week in Lagos grabbed the Nigerian telecom awards’ African Personality of the year.
But for Aganbire, a Ghanaian, being considered so in Nigeria could be significant but what would make it worthwhile is if it could lead to the collaboration of African technology innovators.
For him, there are lots of African technology innovators who innovations are greater than what are being popularized by the western world as the best,but the problem has always been that Africa has no identity because innovation drivers are competing against themselves instead of collaborating.
Speaking to the media after receiving his award, Aganbire said “we are ready to associate with all local platforms, PC, tablet and mobile phone manufacturers in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. Our factory in Nigeria is going to be the biggest in all the places we have established but we also realise the fact that we need to come together to give Africa identity in tabs and gadget business. It is better to be a messenger in a multimillion Naira company than a CEO in a company with zero balance”
He cited example of China, where different companies with different identities agreed to have a central production plant, not only to cut cost and maximise profit but to give their products uniform identity with distinct features.
Pride of place
He added that this is why China has been taking on world brands, giving them a run in market competition.
”This is the only way we can give this continent a pride of place in world technology market and as well, call off this unnecessary competition that has seen some of us go out of business and draw Africa back irrespective of abundant talents and enterprising workforce.
”There is no African brand across ICT innovations as far as I am concerned. We need to produce something and we need to arm our people with skills to do so. Most importantly, we must be able to value what we produced and be able to consume it no matter the mistakes which to my experience, would make us stronger and improve significantly”.
”That is why we have decided to invest in a handset manufacturing plant in Osun state. We are not going to allow others to dictate the pace of our growth but we can do it ourselves. We are not poorer than other countries but because of our mindset we look poor and allow others to fleece us in the name of providing those things we can not produce.
”African countries should come together to give Africa a brand. Our past mistakes should be corrected now for us to move ahead. Whether from the west, north or East, Africans have unique similarities that should unite us and make us stronger. That is the message that is the revolution, the statement that our company in Nigeria is making”
Aganbire’s idea of creating economic independence is to empower the youths with skills that can stand them at par with their peers in the developed world. “It is high time we have economic independence in Africa.
But you can not have that until people begin to trust each other. We are creating up to a thousand jobs at the minimum in our Nigerian factory. We may be able to do up to five thousand phones a day and two thousand Pcs a day. But as we move on, we may be able to do twice that. We are encouraged by the performance of people we have trained in Osun state and the level of interest from the Nigerian people.