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eGovernment Forschung | eGovernment Research 2001 - 2017

When one looks around Nigeria today, it is very difficult not to notice the pace of change brought about by the ever-evolving Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. The growth of the ICT sector has developed so rapidly that it has literally changed the way we think about socio-economic development. In regards to ICT, Nigeria’s numbers are staggering. Nigeria ranks number one in internet usage in Africa and eighth in the world. Nigeria’s telecom sector is one of the largest in Africa, and is driven almost entirely by mobile technology. Internet usage has increased rapidly in Nigeria over the past ten years. ICT has opened up access to information on the world-wide web and citizens are bettered informed about matters of particular importance and interest to them. The potential to transform lives and the nation’s economy through IT is well known by lawmakers and the IT/telecommunications sector.

It would be a remarkable achievement if the policy and private sector could work more closely together to address youth entrepreneurship and employment through ICT. To realise this vision, a plan for training, incubating, financing and implementation is needed. Youth engagement throughout the design and implementation process is critical for success. To promote the empowerment of young Nigerians to engage in the development process, leaders should seek to contribute to youth employment through entrepreneurship and capacity development in Nigeria. ICT should be recognized as both an input, and output of innovation. The emergence of technology hubs across the country, as well as the growing efforts by young Nigerian “techpreneurs” in developing mobile applications to solve health, education, financial inclusion, agriculture, and other socio-economic challenges all point to evidence of ICTs as outputs of the innovation and entrepreneurship processes. Young people usually lack substantial mainstream support in terms of funding for the sustainable implementation and replication of their initiatives. Techpreneurs should receive support that fosters the adoption and diffusion of mobile applications, while simultaneously allowing them to continue growing their ventures. Currently, there is growing evidence that although individual techpreneurs are winning awards and being celebrated outside the country, the adoption and diffusion of home-grown mobile applications need to be further supported and promoted.

Additionally, there are important infrastructure issues that pose barriers to ICT growth and internet penetration. Service, quality, network congestion, lack of investment in infrastructure high broadband prices, the recession and lack of economic growth. Social factors impacting rapid growth include mass illiteracy rates with computers, the high cost of computers and internet services and government policies. It should be the intention of government to look to create an enabling environment and incentives for internet service providers to provide affordable rates and increased access to rural areas. In today’s knowledge based economy, government cannot afford to have people left behind.

In other parts of Africa and the Global South, important technical strides have been made in using mobile phones and other ICT instruments to help rural farmers purchase agricultural inputs and receive fair prices for their produce from remote locations. Perhaps one of the greatest innovations is in the health sector. Telemedicine and e-health programs have improved the lives of thousands of men, women and children. Patients no longer have to travel major distances to receive preventive care and diagnosis. The savings in terms of time and money are priceless. Imagine receiving top rated health care in hundreds of miles away from the facility is truly amazing The Federal Government has announced on several occasions its desire to grow the economy and create jobs through ICT. The Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Communication have been very vocal and focused in this area.

The National Assembly is playing its part as well. After partnering with the private sector on the “Ease of Doing Business” priority economic agenda, a new partnership has emerged on ICT. The Nigeria ICT Policy Working Group is a partnership between the Office of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and the Africa Business Center of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The purpose of the Working Group is to assemble government, the Nigerian ICT private sector, international investors development partners to work over several months to review the impediments to the growth of the ICT sector, infrastructure development, spread of broadband and government policies and offer recommendations for action by the Federal Government and National Assembly. The Working Group has the potential to deliver real socio-economic benefits to the people of Nigeria and the interest it has already garnered leads many to believe that Nigeria is on the verge of a robust, post-petroleum revival.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Oluwatoba Olaitan

Quelle/Source: Nigerian Tribune, 01.05.2017

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