Using ICT to boost the economy (don’t forget the youth!)
Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, the National President of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria made some spot-on remarks in advance of the 2009 COMBIT (Communications, Business Systems, and Information Technology Expo) Africa exhibition to be held next month in Lagos. He strongly believes that ICT can bring a nation, in this case his nation, out of economic turmoil. A summary with brief analysis:
- The remarks begin with an anthropological analogy mentioning how technology has immensely shaped the future of mankind and has already helped address major global challenges.
- However, he warns about the human tendency to combat change and become complacement with a less than ideal situation, in this case, the economy.
- As such, we must not rely too upon heavily on investment by developed countries, although some investment is necessary.
- ICT is both a foundation and pivot. The device alone cannot fix the economy, although it can provide a basis for employment and development and lead into growth in other sectors.
- When bandwidth services exist (as they currently do in Nigeria) the must be used for content creation. The entire country must be involved.
- Finally, Dr. Ekuwem stresses the importance of youth. He says, “the absence of the youth in any adventure will amount to nothing and lack of sustainability.” This point is perhaps the most important, given the statistic that 42% of Africans are below the age of 15.
Goals listed on the official event website focus more on the investment side of ICT and involve showcasing current technologies and attracting international attention and partnerships.