Experts seek Lagos, private sector partnership on ICT clusters

[FILES] ICT. Photo: Odd Hill

To accelerate Nigeria’s development, experts have called for the optimisation of existing information and communication technology (ICT) clusters’ through partnership between the private and public sectors.

According to them, digital technology through such initiatives would drive economic transformation of the country.

Overtime, the use of digital technology to create new solutions for economic growth has been on the rise in Nigeria.

Much of this growth could be attributed to the emergence of Lagos State as a regional hub for technology driven innovation, catalysed by bold and revolutionary ICT initiatives of the state government.

Speaking at a workshop facilitated by Accenture, a technology services firm, a former Minister for Communication and Technology, Dr. Omobola Johnson, said it is important to create a vision, influenced and supported by the experience of the project stakeholders as a way of taking future ownership of Nigerian digital hub.

According to her, through partnership that works, Nigeria could be a giant in technology, in the West Africa region.

The workshop focused on improving the enabling environment in the areas of access to funding; market, infrastructure; policy regulation and governance, among others.

Recently, Lagos has been in the front burner in technology development through KITE@Yaba, which stands for “Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship.

The project, aimed at transforming the Yaba Technology cluster. Kicked off earlier in the year with the establishment of the Project Steering Committee (PSC).

This is a six-member committee comprising representatives from three Lagos State ministries Science and Technology, Wealth Creation, and Employment, and Physical Planning and Urban Development as well as three representatives from the private sector.

To support the Project Steering Committee, a consortium of notable technology industry experts was inaugurated as the Industry Advisory Board (IAB).

The IAB’s consortium includes organisations like, Google, Microsoft, MainOne, Andela, General Electric (GE), CcHub, Flutterwave, University of Lagos, Lagos State University, and Ibile Broadband to provide direction for the project.

In his remarks at the forum, the Chief Executive Officer of IBILE Holdings Limited, Abiodun Amokomowo, observed that “The cluster must work collaboratively by creating symbiotic relationships with its stakeholders and partners such that as it receives knowledge and shares invaluable knowledge generated with start-ups and other technology businesses in the cluster.”

The Head, Regulatory Services of MainOne, Ifeloju Alakija, who also highlighted the cluster’s importance in reviewing and designing the right digital skills curricula.

She stated that ICT in the next 10 years in partnership with the private sector could be subsequently applied to talent development to provide the much-needed technological manpower from which businesses within and outside the cluster can employ the best candidates in advancing the growth of the digital ecosystem.

Earlier, the State Commissioner for Science and Technology, Hakeem Fahm, emphasized that the involvement of multiple private and public-sector stakeholders in the visioning session will lay the foundation for successful partnerships that will accelerate the development of a technology and innovation cluster within the Yaba district.

He stated that the collaboration would enable wealth creation, employment growth and economic development through Knowledge, Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship.

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