It is my opinion that if any country takes Information and Communications Technologies seriously, it should endeavour to host at least one major technology event annually. Such event should be designed to attract an international audience as well as visitors.
Yes, it should be private sector led but experiences from other climes show that government’s role is to ensure that the right infrastructure and facilities to support such events are in place. The reason is simple. If the event eventually holds successfully, the economy of that nation will benefit tremendously.
Consider these examples: Gulf Information Technology Exhibition attracts over 150,000 visitors to the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, annually; CeBIT and Gamescom pulls 350,000 plus and 150,000, respectively, to the Federal Republic of Germany; Consumer Electronics Show that holds annually in Las Vegas, USA, receives close to 200,000 visitors.
These figures are, by any stretch of imagination, mind boggling and they are capable of transforming any local economy. Why am I stressing this?
The point is simple. We should work hard to build our own annual eNigeria conference to become the number one technology event in sub-Saharan Africa, even though, I admit that this is a tall order for now, considering where we are today.
However, nothing stops us from aiming for gold. Nigeria, after all, is no doubt the economic powerhouse of Africa and the latest report from the International Monetary Fund lends credence to this fact.
The ‘Africa Investment Forum’ held on the side lines of a global event like GITEX is one to be taken seriously by any discerning investor as the gathering gives them the opportunity to listen to various African policy makers and entrepreneurs talk about opportunities in the African tech ecosystem.
The newly appointed Director General of the National Information Development Technology Agency, Dr. Isa Ibrahim, in his speech at the forum, called on the international community to consider the potential of the Nigerian economy.
He went on to say, “Nigeria is a haven for investors. We have a large population of approximately 180 million people, many of whom are youths that are either ICT experts or ICT literate.
“The size of our population offers investors a very large market for products and services with a potential high return on investment within a short period of time.
“This is all the more interesting when one considers the fact that investors will also have access to a large pool of highly skilled labour at a considerably more competitive labour cost than competing markets.”
According to him, NITDA is working hard to ensure that ICT is considered at the forefront of growing Africa’s — Finish Reading on the Punch Website