DRAFT COMMUNIQUÉ AT THE e-NIGERIA 2012 CONFERENCE ORGANISED BY THE NATIONAL INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (NITDA) HELD AT THE CONGRESS HALL, TRANSCORP HILTON, ABUJA ON THE 20TH – 22ND NOVEMBER, 2012
The e-Nigeria 2012 Conference organized by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) took place at the Congress Hall, Transcorp Hilton, Abuja from Tuesday, 20th – Thursday, 22nd November, 2012. The theme of the conference was “Local Content in ICT Development in Nigeria”.
2. The objectives of the Conference were:
- to examine and proffer appropriate strategies that would enhance the Nigerian content in IT products and services;
- develop requisite framework for empowering indigenous IT entrepreneurs in order to contribute to Nigeria’s GDP;
- develop framework for providing critical employment through outsourcing and other digital opportunity windows;
- examine challenges/factors militating against IT local content development in the country;
- and develop strategies for leveraging on technology transfer and Nigerians in diaspora for developing the IT industry in the country.
3. Dignitaries at the occasion included: Chairman, House Committee on Information and Communication Technology, Hon. Dr. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau; the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Zainab Maina; Honourable Minister of Youth Development, Mr. Kabir Inuwa Esq; the Honourable Minister of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Mrs Omobola Johnson who was the chief host; Senior Special Adviser to the Vice-President on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Dr. Baba Jubril; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Mrs Ibukun Odusote and former Vice-President African Region, World Bank, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili. Other personalities included Presidents, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN).
4. Dr. Oby Ezekwesili presented the keynote address titled “An Overview of IT Content Development: Issues, Paradigms and Options for Economic Growth and Sustainable National Development”, while the event was declared open by the Honourable Minister of Communications. In addition, goodwill messages were delivered by various stakeholders among which were ISPON, ITAN, NCS etc. There were five (5) plenary sessions with a total of 25 papers presented.
Following discussions at the event, the participants observed that:
a. ICT sector in Nigeria is growing at an increasing rate, and it is the 4th largest contributor to the nation’s GDP;
b. the IT sector contributes about 18% to the growth of the economy with an investment worth about $200 million in 2003 and expected to increase to $25 billion in 2013;
c. there is a huge potential for ICT Local content development towards its contribution to the growth of the Nigerian economy;
d. the development of a sound IT sector can assist in achieving the Federal Government’s Transformation Agenda and engender development in the rural areas;
e. IT has the potential to create jobs for our youths, boost food security and create export opportunities for the country amongst others;
f. National security can be enhanced through the promotion of ICT local content in Nigeria;
g. various unnoticed ICT innovative programmes are currently on-going amongst the youths in Nigeria;
h. despite the many obvious challenges, Nigeria can still leapfrog and contribute to the global digital economy;
i. Nigerians are yet to leverage on our existing ICT infrastructure to bring about the desired transformation;
j. there is still a wide gap between monitoring and evaluation of ICT projects on value added on investments;
k. Nigeria has not done so much on the protection of intellectual property, which is necessary to promote innovation
6. After extensive discussions, the followings recommendations were made:
i. NITDA, should focus on intense research towards achieving the vision of Local content while the theme of this year’s e-Nigeria should be sustained in subsequent editions and Key Performance Indicators be set and evaluated until 50% local content is achieved in the sector
ii. There is a need for Government to include Local IT manufacturers in its international trade missions, in order to expose our local manufacturers and stakeholders to the best practices in the areas of service, software, knowledge, and innovation
iii. Government shall encourage local ICT companies to compete internationally through various measures including reduction of software and hardware importation into the country.
iv. Stakeholders shall identify an ICT Champion and a lobby group to advance the growth of ICT
v. Government should upgrade NITDA to a National Information Technology Development Commission (NITDC) to ensure adequate regulation of the IT sector
vi. NITDA should collaborate with the NASS to fast track appropriate legal framework for smooth integration of IT in all sectors.
vii. NITDA shall commence the development of a concise ICT local content policy in collaboration with stakeholders
viii. NITDA shall strengthen its partnership with other relevant stakeholders such as Ministries of Education, Finance, Agriculture, Health, Trade and Investment for effective ICT development in achieving their mandates
ix. Indigenous hardware and software manufacturers shall commence the development of workstations for forensic Technology works
x. Organization of the annual software competition for students should be collaboratively handled by NITDA , CPN and NCS and the National Mathematical Centre
xi. NITDA should develop a multilingual web portal in Nigerian Languages including development of special IT programmes for our teeming youth to meaningfully engage them.
xii. Government shall continuously facilitate the establishment of knowledge based clusters (ICT Incubation Centres) in a strategic imperative to enhance the standard and quality of local content implementation processes
xiii. Government shall introduce ICT local content in the curriculum of educational institutions
xiv. All stakeholders shall collaborate to develop ICT local content in Nigeria. Creative and innovative thinking should be encouraged at all levels of the education system.