Immediate past president of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Prof. Charles Uwadia has said that for the nation’s Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) plans to be felt by the citizenry, the implementation must be measured through research and development.
Prof. Uwadia who made this disclosure while presiding over a joint session on Group C and D on ICT in Research and Development and ICT Popularisation and Awareness, during a sectoral workshop organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) in Lagos, last week.
Uwadia who was x-raying the iCT4D in Research and Development aspect of the national e-Strategy, said that Research and Development (R&D) is the bedrock of any self-reliant national economy.
The agrarian, industrial and ICT revolutions, he said, have all been made possible as a result of progress made in R & D in these three sectors.
“Development in these sectors is one of the indices for assessing the development of any national economy,” he said.
He listed some of the challenges of research and development in the country to include difficulty in accessing relevant and updated information on research in similar areas or sectors.
Also, he said that duplication of research and development activities by different bodies in Nigeria, coupled with the lack of coordination within the different levels of government has not been helpful.
Additionally, he noted the need for institutionalized relationship with local and international R & D bodies, to strengthen the synergy between companies involved in R & D and user companies.
The need for ICT capacity building, he said, could not be over-emphasised even as inadequate investment in R & D is worrisome, Uwadia stressed that the lack of adaptation of ICT systems to local environment and their needs must be addressed to witness positive change in the implementation of ICT4D plans for the country.
He pointed out that aside from classifying the R & D bodies into sectors, Nigeria needs to develop a portal containing the database of bodies involved in R & D.
This, he said, would help in determining the level of ICT utilization for R & D as well as its dissemination of products outline or research outcome.
Networking of relevant R & D bodies locally, he said must be linked to the established international R & D organizations so as to facilitate the impact of R & D on the local economy.
He said, that development of capacity building strategies and multi-lingual hardware and software platforms must not be relegated, just as development of adaptable ICT programme to local environment and their needs remain paramount to the success of ICT4D implementation.
“Localised keyboard is not a bad idea,” he declared, adding that the implementation agencies must include Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Federal Ministry of Industries and NITDA.Remmy Nweke
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