By Dipo Olowookere
Managing Director of Halogen Security, Mr Wale Olaoye, has disclosed that Nigeria’s current disappointing ranking on the 2017 Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Development Index (IDI) should serve as a wake-up call on the pressing need to exploit ICT in order to enhance the country’s economic development.
Mr Olaoye made the comments following the latest United Nations International Telecommunication Union IDI which ranked Nigeria a lowly 15th in information communication technology (ICT) development in Africa.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Lagos today, the Halogen boss said, “I am not particularly surprised with Nigeria’s poor ICT development index considering that our economy has been in some distress in recent times and from my observation, there’s a strong relationship between the levels of economic development and ICT development of any country.
“Most countries strive for constant progress in ICT because they have full understanding of how it represents an important structural part of modern society.
“While it is common knowledge that ICT is a driver of economic development, it is disappointing that there is not enough investment in technology in key sectors such as Education, Infrastructure, Health, Agriculture, Transport, Security and others.
“These have implications, particularly in our security space, as criminals are increasingly using technology to carry out their activities. Security concerns and threats are now multi-dimensional in nature whilst the risk implications are multi-faceted,” he said.
Mr Olaoye, however, averred that it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Nigeria as a deliberate effort to drive the country’s economy through ICT would see the country reap the benefits in leaps and bounds.
“The World Economic Forum has been unequivocal in its call for developing countries to take advantage of ICT in order to boost their economies. According to the organization, some of the ways that ICT can improve any country’s economy include ‘direct job creation’, ‘contribution to GDP growth’, ‘emergence of new services and industries’, ‘workforce transformation’ and ‘business innovation’.”
“In the US alone, ICT is expected to create close to a million jobs by 2020 and that is a big deal. In order to fast track digital transformation for enterprises and citizens in Nigeria, the government should demonstrate leadership by increasing spending on ICT infrastructure,” he said.
The security expert also added that providing affordable access to broadband Internet for Nigerians should remain a priority for the government as articulated in a Broadband4All Forum initiative of 2010.
In the latest (ICT) Development Index, Nigeria was ranked 143rd globally, a striking downward shift from its 137th position in 2016, with countries like Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa, Cape Verde, Botswana, Gabon, Ghana, Namibia, Cote d’Ivoire, Sao Tome and Principle, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Senegal respectively all ranking higher.
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