Abu: Investment in Telecom Will Enhance Productivity, GDP Growth

The Chief Executive Officer of Liquid Intelligent Technologies Nigeria, Mr. Wole Abu, highlights the importance of the recent launch of the company’s diverse services in Nigeria, and how such investment will enhance productivity and GDP growth in Nigeria and Africa. Emma Okonji presents the excerpts:  

Liquid Intelligent Technologies launched its services in Nigeria last week. What is your company’s focus and why the launch in Nigeria?

Liquid Intelligent Technologies Nigeria is a digital power house that delivers digital transformation solutions to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including large enterprises, corporate bodies and the public sector across Africa where we currently operate in 20 countries on the continent. Nigeria is our latest entrance, following the official launch of Liquid Intelligent Technologies in Nigeria. Though Liquid is not new in Nigeria, because we have been in Nigeria for about years now as Liquid Telecom, building our network and diversifying our business. The diversification of our business into cybersecurity and cloud service delivery, led to the change in our nomenclature from Liquid Telecom to Liquid Intelligent Technologies. With the official launch in Nigeria last week, we are ready ro commercialise our network in Nigeria, which is the connection between Abuja, Port Harcourt and Lagos, known as ‘The Golden Triangle.’ We have a metro business hub in Lagos, which we intend to expand, having launched in Nigeria. So we will be providing cloud, connectivity and storage services in Nigeria and other African countries. So Liquid Intelligent Technologies is a one-stop-shop, providing technology services that will enhance digital transformation in Nigeria and Africa.

What in your view is the importance of the launch of Liquid Intelligent Technologies to the Nigerian economy?

For every investment in the telecom sector of any economy, there is an opportunity to drive productivity that will enhance the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of that economy. Today in Nigeria, the contribution of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to GDP is over 14 per cent, which is quite significant. With the launch of Liquid Intelligent Technologies in Nigeria, the support of government and the direction of Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, we are sure of further accelerating the productivity and GDP growth in Nigeria to 25 per cent in the near future.

The Nigeria digital space is growing, but we are not yet there. Our service offerings in Nigeria will help catalyse what we already have on ground, to further enhance business growth. Most Nigerian companies still operate in the old traditional way, but the launch of Liquid Intelligent Technologies, we would be able to assist them to operate digitally, in the areas of cybersecurity, storage, record keeping, business expansion and connectivity. So the impact of our services on the Nigerian economy will highly significant,

How will Liquid Intelligent Technologies support businesses in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), in terms of business growth?

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement has been signed, which is designed to connect African capitals, through high-speed train network that will facilitate the movement of goods, services and people to business across Africa. The African business we are talking about is not going to be physical, but digital in nature. Going digital will enhance supply chain in businesses to be seamlessly integrated and that is exactly what we do at Liquid Intelligent Technologies. So we are ready to support businesses to go digital and we will be able to achieve this, since we are already established in 20 countries across Africa. So if a particular business signs up with us, such business will automatically have access to business in 19 other African countries, and that means a lot of business opportunities for that particular business that signs up with us.

Businesses are in search of high-speed internet connectivity that will address the issue of downtime in business. How will Liquid Intelligent Technologies help in addressing the connectivity needs of businesses?

The speed of light is the fastest in the world and fibre, which is what we do, has the speed of light in terms of internet connectivity. So there is nothing faster than fibre connectivity in the area of internet service delivery. Of course there are challenges that could arise, through deliberate or un-deliberate fibre cuts, and this is where we talk about collaboration with various communities and governments. Now if a fibre line is cut, it can disconnect internet activities of an entire state and businesses will suffer. This is the more reason why the protection of critical national infrastructure is important. Within the limits of our peculiar environment, I can safely say that the best quality available is what Liquid Intelligent Technologies is offering through fibre optic cable. For the purpose of protecting our fibre cable, we installed our fibre cables on the electric power line and not in the ground, which could be affected by road construction or natural erosion. With this new development of installing fibre cables on power lines, we guarantee 99.99 per cent Service Level Agreement (SLA) with our customers. So we operate aerial fibre that is less prone to deliberate and un-deliberate attacks on fibre optic cables. Though we operate aerial fibre, but we also step it down at some points, when we are connecting to the homes and offices.

What are your priorities in cloud and co-location services offering to businesses?

In terms of our cloud and co-location services offering, we pride ourselves as the digital power house and we have storage in our data centre business that has been launched and operational in Nigeria and connected with five other data centres on the African continent. In the area of cloud, we are platinum partner to Microsoft. Today, we have made the cloud service a lot faster, cheaper and reliable, because any data that is stored in the cloud is more secured than those physically stored on-premise.  The recovery rate from the cloud is much faster also. Businesses scale faster when they store their data in the cloud and we offer such service to customers. So our priorities are to ensure that businesses scale fast though the digital services that we offer them. Businesses do not need to spend money in building such infrastructure. What they do is to take advantage of the co-location services that we offer to rent space in our data centre facility.

How do you address the issues around cyberseciurity, especially in an era where cyber attacks are on the increase?

We partner with the leading cybersecurity companies, to offer their services to our customers. We launched an operational centre for cybersecurity, where we track online threats everyday. We offer dedicated pipe to the cloud that guarantees safety of data and we are one of the few companies that provide such safety to organizations data.

How will Liquid Intelligent Technologies help in bridging the digital infrastructure gap in Nigeria and Africa?

At Liquid Intelligent Technologies, our business is to invest in the telecom sector to drive digital transformation. By investing in telecom, we are also developing telecom infrastructure that will help bridge the existing gap in digital infrastructure, and it is the reason we launched in Nigeria, after launching in other African countries. Digital infrastructure is our core business, and we are into renewable energy, data centre operation, fibre connectivity among others.

How will all of these lead to digital transformation in Nigeria and Africa?

Digital transformation is about those simple blocks like connectivity, cloud services for storage and accessibility as well as security. It also comes with managed services and all these are embedded in our service offerings. So with our service offerings, we are actually driving digital transformation in Nigeria and the rest of Africa.

What is the relationship between Cassava Technologies and Liquid Intelligent Technologies, and how has it helped Liquid to grow and service its customers satisfactorily?

Cassava Technologies is the holding company and the parent group and Liquid Intelligent Technologies is part of that group.  Liquid Intelligent Technologies was launched in Nigeria to tell the African story on digital transformation about the continent. Liquid Intelligent Technologies is part of a global power house called Cassava Technologies that is driving global digital transformation. The launch of Liquid Intelligent Technologies in Nigeria will further help to connect the rest of Africa to the internet and the digital economy space. Our desire is to transform the African continent by empowering Africans, Nigeria inclusive, as well as businesses with intelligent technology solutions.

What is the roadmap of Liquid Intelligent Technologies towards digital transformation?

Businesses do not need to spend so much in digital infrastructure because Liquid Intelligent Technologies has already invested in digital infrastructure that will drive digital transformation across Africa. We have a digital transformation roadmap and we a digital platform that organisations can leverage on be part of the digital transformation agenda of the federal government. We are strongly committed to connecting African countries to the internet and to the digital economy space. We want to empower the African continent by empowering people and businesses as well as communities with intelligent technologies. We have invested in subsea cables, connecting key countries in Africa and we are consortium partners to major subsea cable operators that have berthed their subsea fibre cables in Africa. We have pioneered several digital projects in Africa and we have the largest fibre network in Africa. What this means for us is that businesses are able to have a complete suite of products around network connectivity, cloud, managed services and cybersecurity, thus making Liquid Intelligent Technologies a one-stop-shop for all business needs in Africa. In Nigeria, we will support all government agencies that are driving digital transformation, to ensure that the goals of the national broadband plan are achieved.

How will you describe Nigeria’s digital economy growth in the last two years?

Digital economy growth in Nigeria has been tremendous, given the contribution of ICT to the economy. Nigeria has become the fastest growing ICT market globally, based on population and government initiatives in relation to policy implementation. We however have our challenges that have to do with infrastructure.  Nigeria has invested so much in subsea cables that have berthed at the shores of the country. The launch of Liquid Intelligent Technologies will help in addressing some of our digital infrastructure challenges, because the company has invested heavily on digital infrastructure. We are not there yet as a country, but we are doing great to achieve the set goals, with the support of government.      

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