By Emma Okonji
The Managing Director, Hewlett Packard (HP) Nigeria, Mrs. Ify Afe has expressed worries about the huge potential that exist in Nigerian technology space that are still largely untapped, insisting that education and awareness creation will expose Nigerians to tap from such potential.
Afe, who spoke in Lagos at the weekend, said a lot of opportunities exist for Nigerians to leapfrog, but they need to be exposed to the opportunities that abound in Information Technology (IT) in order to make a difference.
“We have huge population as well as huge challenges on our hands as Nigerians, but very few people are aware of the existing solutions to address their daily challenges. Nigerians are aware that they have challenges, but they do not know the means and the how to address those challenges. A lot of Nigerians are not fully aware of the technology solutions that are already on ground that they can use to address their challenges and we have a lot of those solutions from HP, and I think that is the area the Nigerian government needs to work on by creating the right opportunities for people to understand how to use technology to address their challenges in their daily lives,” Afe said.
According to her, “It is for this reason that HP devotes a lot of time on research and marketing, just to understand the needs of Nigerians and develop software solutions that will address all of those challenges.”
She explained that Nigerians are not naive of the opportunities and challenges before them, but that they do not know the technology solutions to address those challenges, and that is why there are lots of untapped opportunities in the technology space and that HP is particular about developing the right education and creating the right technology awareness among the Nigerian people.
She said government must ensure that the right policies are put in place to facilitate all of these, and that HP would continue to work closely with government to achieve the goals.
“Government should insist on the right level of standard for products and solutions in the country and endeavour to come up with policies that will protect organisations operating in the country as well as the Nigerian citizens. For instance, government must insist that hospitals must use state-of-the-art technology in order to provide the right treatment to patients,” Afe said.
She further explained that in an attempt to address the technology gap and the untapped IT opportunities in the country, HP partnered United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) on a programme called the HP Life + UNNIDO partnership, designed to capture Nigerian youths that do not know how to use the right technology solutions to address their challenges.
“We want to create awareness campaign in this area to make Nigerians better informed because majority of Nigerians have good business ideas, but they do not know how to go about them and how to create opportunities out of them. The HP Life programme will expose them on how to achieve their dreams and that is what is actually driving the HP Life + Programme,” Afe said.
She explained that a lot of young school leavers who tried to start something on their own, were grounded at a particular level of their business, because they lack the skills and exposure, and they do not know how to scale-up their business.