ICT as a critical Tool – Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is now widely accepted by developing countries as a critical tool in their efforts to eradicate poverty, enhance human development, and achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In view of the ever-growing importance of ICT affecting our daily lives and recognizing the untapped potentials, the State Governments have to accord high priority to this area by investing in infrastructure initiatives, human capital development, strategies and programs incorporating ICT.
This write-up presents a strategy for the Nigerian States in particular and Africa in general to secure the benefits of digital (knowledge) economy.
Three strategic thrusts – Technology, Finance and Human Capital, are key to achieving the enabling potentials of digital (knowledge) economy; in each, success depends on mobilizing broad-based supports from a host of stakeholders in the government, the educational community and industry. Human capital, and the immediate need for faculty re-building, are the highest priority.
Technology Infusion, Capacity and Entrepreneurship Development Program in digital economy and emerging technologies is to drive the reskilling and upskilling of the workforce towards active participation in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and outsourcing; thereby creating employment and technological base particularly for the states with spin-off benefits extending to the whole country.
The program is also positioned to promote the activities of the Free Trade Zones through collaboration and partnerships.
Technology Infusion, Capacity and Entrepreneurship Development (TICED) Program will enable Institutions to augment their technological base, facilitating the materialization of young entrepreneurs and innovators to create startup companies for commercialization and exploitation of technologies developed by them.
TICED Program Objectives:
- Establishment and augmentation of technological base of institutions, consequently nurturing technology entrepreneurship development;
- To promote educational programs and create awareness in the field of high technology
- Acquisition of new knowledge through education and training, and subsequent application to various sectors of the economy.
- To create a new source of knowledge workers that can establish companies and provide jobs to the citizens
- To position States for foreign direct investment from multinational and outsourcing companies
- To support product oriented research and development activities;
- To incentivize and accelerate development of indigenous products and services;
- To bridge the gap between R&D and commercialization.
- To bridge the gap between industry and academia
- To promote the evolution of industrial clusters
- To promote capacity development in emerging technologies
- To establish Centers of Excellence in thrust areas of ICT for intensified and focused R&D activity
- To promote collaboration between Government, Industry, NGOs, Academia and R&D Institutions to identify innovation needs in different sectors and the ways to develop and deliver content
- To promote creation of incubation facilities/ centres for innovative product development and strengthening the institutional mechanism for IPR protection and patenting
- To identify and promote long term research in emerging areas to enable the States move towards attaining global competitiveness
Benefits of the Program:
a. Will promote the State as a leader in creating and disseminating new knowledge, and in the application of new knowledge
b. Will fulfill the need for cross-disciplinary training of students and State’s businesses in a new area of advanced technology.
c. will drive a vibrant collaboration between state schools and their foreign partners, with available tools and facilities, obtaining grants from international firms and sponsors will be a lot easier also.
d. Will offer new field of research and application which will create increased opportunities for employment and economic growth in the States.
e. Will make the States the natural location for companies like HP, Intel, Microsoft and other firms presently selling their products in Nigeria to build plants, when the time comes.
f. Will make the State lead the nation in developing core knowledge manpower for the 21st century; quality manpower improves the odds of attracting location of knowledge firms.
g. Will facilitate international collaborations with available in-state tools
h. Will expand the state economy by infusion of new ideas and knowledge capital
i. Will drive the emergence of technology clusters and hubs A. Will help create new companies and reduce unemployment
j. Will transition the ICT sector to become creative with value creation capability
k. Will open a new opportunity for the SMEs
l. Will bring the world’s engine of wealth to the States and modernize education
- Establishment of TICED Program Office under the Governor’s Office with direct reporting to the the Governor preventing red-tapeism and bottleneck.
- Program Running Cost should include personnel, logistics, consultancy etc
- Skills Gap Analysis
- Technological Audit of Institutions/Existing Clusters
- Development of Training Curriculum
- Provision of Tools and Equipment
- Capacity Development
- Establishment of TICED Centres in at least 3 Senatorial zones
- Incubation of Startups
- Publicity and Awareness Creation Program
- Facilitation of TICED Seminars and Conferences hence the need for conference centres
- Adoption of Edutech Tools such as Unity Boards for STEAM Education, Disruptive IoT based Applications, Products and Services Development (1000 pcs)
- Establishment of TICED Seed Fund /Financial Support as Grant-in-aid
Recognizing the importance of Technology Innovation and Incubation, institutions of higher learning should be encouraged to nurture activities such as policy measures, infrastructure support, entrepreneurial training, IPR facilitation, and creation of a framework to nurture technology innovation and incubation.
The incubation centers would provide a host of services to new enterprises and facilitate linkages that are congenial for their survival and growth.
The centre also will network with Angel Investors and Venture Capitalists who provide mentoring and financial support to the startup companies and enable the tenant companies to mature over a period of 2-3 years and graduate to a commercial place to do the actual business.
The involvement of faculties of the institutions in the technology start-up activity reinforces teaching and research, strengthens linkages between education and industry, and also better aligns education to meet market requirements.
It is proposed to support such initiatives by providing financial and policy support for strengthening technology Innovation and incubation activities. This would nurture technology innovation and, in the long run, enable local development of products and services.
The following mechanism will be followed for implementation of the program:
To be continued:
He is actively involved in capacity development in emerging technologies, technical mentorship and indigenization of technology through R&D.