By Emma Okonji
Disruptive technologies will contribute significantly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) if Information and Communications Technology (ICT) start-ups are encouraged to create innovations that deliver value, Airtel’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, has said.
Ogunsanya made the submission at the recently held maiden edition of Nigeria International Technology and Exhibition Conference (NITEC), in Lagos, which is a platform where stakeholders converge to examine the growth and future of disruptive technologies in Nigeria.
He was represented at the event by the Vice President, Networks Operations, Airtel Nigeria, Adedoyin Adeola.
In his presentation titled ‘Role of Disruptive Technology in Catapulting African Continent’s GDP’, Ogunsanya noted that ICT currently contributes up to nine per cent to Nigeria’s GDP while there is potential for growth if ICT start-ups can explore the available opportunities despite the current dollar rate and Nigeria’s slow GDP.
“Nigeria needs to change from import-based economy to export-based economy, affordable power must be available and government should formulate enabling fiscal and monetary policies in order to boost GDP,” Ogunsanya advised.
He also noted that quality and affordable data network like Airtel, affordable ecosystems for phones, cloud service and broadband penetration would enable the growth of ICT start-ups in Nigeria, making it possible to access the untapped benefits of ICT.
He further called on government to formulate regulations that allow spectrum and active infrastructure sharing, removal of double taxation and declaration of telco infrastructure as critical national infrastructure, while he urged corporate and Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to invest in capacity building, creation of innovation centres across the country and sponsorship of innovation internship/challenge programmes in order to discover young talents.
Other speakers at the event include Country Manager, Google Nigeria, Mrs. Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor; President, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA), Mr. Sunday Folayan; Founder, Yudala.com, Mr. Nnamdi Ekeh, among others.
The event also featured panel discussions where ICT and business experts shared ideas with young entrepreneurs on how to build sustainable business.