- Says sustainable devt not achievable without strong ICT sector
Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo wednesday revealed that the development in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector has generated over $32 billion in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for the country over the last 15 years.
He added that the ICT sector is currently contributing 10 percent of the country’s GDP and has also created over 10 million jobs in the last ten years.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, disclosed this in Abuja at the ICT Export Industrial Forum with the theme: ‘Embracing ICT Export as an Alternative Means to Diversify the Non-Oil Industrial Sector’ organised by Afritex Initiative.
According to him, “We are living in a digital economy driven by high capacity ICT network. The world is in a massive revolution in ICT, the scope of which stretches far beyond the realm of the sector itself.
“No country seeking real sustainable development and progress, and hopes to achieve these things without a strong ICT sector in place to drive the necessary change,” he added.
The vice president noted that with the oil sector contributing 20 percent to the Nigeria’s economy in recent times, he said the current economic challenges confronting the country could be exploited to facilitate the goal of being one of the 20 biggest economies by 2020.
He stressed that this however depends on how citizens respond to the challenges and continued focus on developing the non-oil sector especially the ICT sector like what China, India, Singapore among others have done to develop their economies.
Osinbajo stated that: “ICT is currently contributing 10 percent of the GDP and has created over 10 million jobs in the past ten years. As a matter of fact, ICT today has engage more Nigerians than even the oil sector in the last 50 years.
“Development in the ICT sector has provided well over $32 billion in Foreign Direct Investment over the last 15 years. It is indeed the fastest growing sector of the Nigeria economy which is the second largest ICT market in Africa.
“The number of Internet subscribers in Nigeria also rose from less than 1 million in 2003 to over 80 million in November 2015.”
In spite of these, he noted that there was need for accelerated ICT development to foster inclusive development and address rising youths unemployment among other developmental challenges
“Clearly, while there have been gains in the ICT sector, a lot still needs to be done. If we are going to use IT to build a stronger global competitive, prosperous, job-creating and investment-friendly economy, we must pay adequate attention to embracing ICT revolution as an alternative source of manpower revenue generation,” Osinbajo stressed.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Executive Director, Afritex Initiative, Ugwu Emeka, said the event was in line with her objectives to promote the rapid development and improves global competitiveness of the country’s ICT industry through research and development and through effective linkages to industry and academia.
He called on the government to urgently inaugurate an all in-inclusive committee to take necessary steps towards formulating polices and guidelines for the country’s ICT export and marketing plan.