The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, is seeking collaboration between Nigeria and India, to boost the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in Nigeria.
Shittu made the call in Lagos on Wednesday at the Indo-Africa ICT Expo 2017, organised by the Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council.
He said the partnership would ensure that Nigerian businesses could tap from the knowledge of their Indian counterparts to develop solutions for Nigerian and African markets.
According to him, there are numerous opportunities for partnerships between the public and private sectors in Nigeria and India.
”I implore Indian investors to explore areas to further enhance the lives of our people through technology.
”Nigeria has huge unmet ICT demand. Businesses were apprehensive until they realised the potential of ICT and are now willing to invest in this sector.
”The unmet ICT demand in Nigeria offers huge opportunities for Indian companies in security, telecommunications, education, capacity building and other sectors,” he said.
Citing the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Shittu said that out of the 940 million people living in the least developed countries, most of them being in Africa, only 89 million people use the internet, corresponding to a 9.5 per cent penetration rate.
He said that the ITU had projected that by the end of 2017; only 50 per cent households in developing countries would have internet access, compared with more than 80 per cent in the developing countries.
According to him, the statistics are a clear call for the need to identify opportunities for collaboration, sharing best practices and exploring inclusive technologies to drive the world into a truly connected community.
”For business people looking forward to investing in Africa, Nigeria offers the best opportunity for your hub activities.
”We have a robust economy with many opportunities for collaboration, a well educated population, pro-investor policies and focus and when we mean business, we mean big business.
”Our commitment towards ICT innovations has made Nigeria well known in the tech space as at today.
“We have over 145 million mobile subscribers, representing a penetration of 85.5 per cent, while internet penetration rate stands at about 70 per cent,” he said.
The minister said that Nigeria was the fastest growing ICT market in Africa and in the worldwide, which was attributable to the improving conducive business environment.
Shittu said that India had proven its capacities in the ICT sector and was acknowledged as a preferred destination for services and outsourced research and development.
The Indian Minister of Communications, Mr Manoj Sinha, said that with India’s experience and expertise, the country could contribute in achieving ICT goals in Africa.
“With ICT at the heart of national development, India and Africa could jointly enhance the well-being of the people.
“Nigeria’s ICT policy has a mission to fully integrate ICTs into the socio-economic development, in other to transform Nigeria into a knowledge-based economy.
“Most of the African countries are embarking in the same direction. India also has the same mission,” he said.