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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Zinox boss tasks economic team on ICT investment

The chairman of Zinox Technologies Limited, Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh, has tasked the newly inaugurated Presidential Economic Team to advice President Goodluck Jonathan to invest on Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

He made this call as a panelist at the Nigeria-India partnership forum tagged Unlocking Opportunities for Entrepreneurs, held at the Lagos Business School recently, saying that by focusing investment on ICT help in resolving the unemployment burden in the country.

“… Investing heavily on Information and Communications Technology as a means of generating digital activities would drastically reduce the number of unemployed youths,” he said.

He expressed support for the Federal Government’s resolve to tackle youth unemployment head-on but cautioned against tackling the problem through the conventional methods of stimulus and empowerment based on cash injections.

Zinox chairman also said that the government should concentrate on providing subsidized internet access all over the country, in order to create tremendous net working opportunities capable of leading to digital activities that could generate employment and income.

Further, he said that Nigeria must borrow a leaf from India where an emphasis on ICT has turned the country into the outsourcing capital of the world; impacted on India’s educational system to the point that today India produces most of the CEOs of leading multinationals; and propelled the country into the list of emerging economies.

Ekeh noted that today’s global youth restiveness demands that nations must invent ICT based approaches to engage the youth and gain the stability required for development, stressing that the Okonjo-Iweala-led economic team should begin to talk to ICT professionals in Nigeria immediately if her desire to make youth employment the arrow head of her policy is to be achieved.

On the Nigeria India partnership, Dr. Ekeh said that Nigeria must learn how India has managed its multi-ethnic and multi-religious backgrounds, adding that Nigerians must learn from the work ethics that has produced the Indian pre-eminence.

He pointed out that India shared many things in common with Nigeria including the fact that both countries were colonized by Britain; Nigeria is largest democracy in West Africa and India is largest democracy in South Asia; diverse religious and ethnic populations; they possess diverse natural resources and are the largest economies in their respective regions; both countries are members of the Commonwealth of Nations, G77 and the Non Aligned Movement. He argued that Nigeria had a right to expect that India would see Nigeria differently from the way that Britain, America, Europe, China and other development partners see us.

Ekeh emphasised that there are two key areas which would serve as the benchmark to assess the usefulness of the Nigerian Indian partnership, namely the Ajaokuta/Aladja Steel complexes and the Nigerian Information and Communications Technology sectors as areas that Nigerians would be watching closely.

The Zinox Boss said that Nigerians expect the Indian involvement in the Steel sector to make Ajaokuta/Aladja the foremost source of Iron and Steel in Africa. The expectations are so high that Nigerians are depending on India to replicate the Indian software success in Nigeria. Both countries cannot afford to fail in this partnership in order to create a new essence for the New Partnership for African Development, NEPAD.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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