By Prince Okafor
THE Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, had said that more than $60 billion has been invested in Information Communication Technology, ICT in Nigeria since 2001.
Shittu stated this at the sixth European Union-Nigeria Business Forum in Lagos, with the theme: “Youth as Engine of Broad-Based Economic Transformation”.
The minister said: “The government of Nigeria has been conscious of the role ICT can play in national development and has, therefore, been committed over the last 15 years to ensuring that ICT facilities and services are expanded rapidly. So far, over $60 billion US dollars has been invested in the ICT sector since year 2001 when digital mobile services were launched.
“Since the democratic governance that was bathed in May 1999, the attention of the world returned to Nigeria as the country with the highest potential for investment on the continent.”
Shittu noted that the government is addressing the issues of investment in ICT infrastructure and ICT education and regulation in order to build on the successes of this digital revolution.
“We are very mindful of the fact that the youth play a key role in developing the ICT sector, and we are putting in place the right business environment and regulatory framework to allow our young people to unlock all the potential of digital economy. Globally ICT has changed the way people communicate, learn and conduct businesses. A World Bank econometric study carried out in 2009 showed that every 10 percent increase in ICT investment generates a 1.38 percent in GDP,” he said.
Shittu reiterated government’s commitment to mainstreaming innovations and ICT to enable growth and development for the country. He stated: “Our national strategic ICT roadmap, eGovernment master plan and national broadband plan outline our desired path to a knowledge-based economy where ICTs underpin service delivery, and provide the bedrock of activities in critical sectors of the economy.
Nigeria is in a digital revolution, we are moving towards interventions such as Smart Cities, ICT University, ICT Development Bank, ICT Park and Exhibition hubs, amongst others. These interventions cannot be done alone by the government; we need partnership and collaborative support of the organised private sector. Government would encourage EU to pool managerial and technical resources together for this establishment.”