Chief Executive Officer, Cymantiks Nigeria, Mr. Emeka Okoye has harped on the need for Nigeria to set up facilities that will engage on extensive Research and Development (R&D) activities to help the country advance technologically.
Speaking at a forum in Lagos, Mr. Okoye pointed out that government has not been taking data issues and R&D seriously and needs to start from the basics.
According to him, Nigeria still do not have a technology ecosystem nor an educational system stemmed on science and technology. He noted that building a tech ecosystem will encourage R&D even in tertiary institutions.
He further advocated for Open Data which will allow access to data by individuals or institutions that wishes to embark on research.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Communication had earlier stated his resolve in ensuring that a campus of the proposed ICT University is sited in each of the six geo-political regions of the country.
The University will serve both as a training field and a research institute for students who will want to develop their skills and put practical
The Minister, Barrister Adebayo Shittu noted that two Universities in the USA had agreed to adopt two campuses, with one institution in Poland inviting the Minister for a discussion on the adoption of another campus.
Barr. Shittu had noted that while students of Computer Science from Nigerian Universities need hands-on training after school, less than 1% of people who deserve skills training are actually able to go out to acquire it. He explained that the ICT University will provide such world class practical training at a very reduced cost, and also generate revenue because it will be open to other countries.
“In our world today, the role of academia cannot be ignored as we move ahead in ICT development. As Government, we recognize Research as a key component in stimulating sustainable ICT growth. In this direction, the Ministry in pursuance of its mandate of leveraging ICT in its entire ramifications and in order to promote local manpower of the ICT sector, is establishing a proposed ICT University of Nigeria with specialized programme on ICT across the six geopolitical zones in the country. The Ministry has reached out to a number of ICT companies locally and internationally for the PPP management of the proposed ICT University. Many have and still counting who have expressed enthusiasm towards investing in the project.”
The proposed ICT University of Nigeria, the first of its kind in Africa and one of the pet projects of Minister, had received the endorsement and goodwill of Facebook and other industry giants at the just concluded World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Forum 2017, in Geneva, Switzerland.
Barr. Shittu, at a side meeting with Facebook’s Robert Pepper, a resource person at the conference, assured of Nigeria’s readiness for the ICT University take off. The university to be run on a multi – campus basis in six locations across the country with established infrastructure, will robustly address the dearth of adequate training of technocrats in the industry to meet international standards.
Mr Pepper promised the full involvement and support of Facebook, saying it falls within the confines of Facebook vision for Africa.
In other interactions with representatives of Google, Access Partnership, Microsoft Group, AT&T and other investors targeting the African continent, the Minister was able to convince them that Nigeria, going by her population and strategic position as the largest economy in the region, is the best investment destination for wise investors.