By Nkechi Isaac, Abuja
Telecommunication and ICT industry has a very important role to play in today’s economy. Basically this industry is supporting other industries. In the age of information, the speed and convenience of information exchange decides the development of the economy. A vibrant telecommunications and ICT sector is required to drive and expand national production frontiers across all sectors of the economy.
Nigeria’s telecommunication and ICT industry owns great potential. The liberalisation of communication in the telecommunications industry has already increased services enormously. Yet relatively low penetration of mobile subscription and the potential of data generated revenue suggest the potential for further medium term growth. By third quarter of 2016, it had contributes 4.4 percent of total GDP and was the second fastest growing sector in absolute terms.
Having the biggest population and economy in Africa, Nigeria has more than 230 million GSM users and a total of 23 million telecom users. Also, there are more than 91 million internet users in Nigeria, around 110,000 of them are 4G users. All these stats show the great potential of telecommunication and ICT industry of Nigeria.
At the opening ceremony of the 2017 overseas training course on telecommunication technologies for Nigeria, sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, organised by the Shenzhen Association for Promoting International Economic and Technological Cooperation and co-organised by Huawei Technologies Company, Nigeria, Ltd, in Abuja, the Consular of China Embassy to Nigeria, Mr Zhao Linxiang, said the bilateral training is a capacity building cooperation that will help Nigeria learn from China’s experiences to develop its telecoms and ICT sector.
He said: “This time, to meet the needs of Nigeria to develop telecommunication and ICT industries, we hold the 2017 overseas training course on telecommunication technologies for Nigeria in Abuja. This year is the first time that Chinese government holds bilateral training in Nigeria. The two governments of China and Nigeria have already had fruitful capacity building cooperation. Now we hold overseas bilateral trainings for Nigeria. I believe capacity building cooperation will be successful and fruitful in the near future and make contributions to the development of ICT industry in Nigeria.
“We are willing to help Nigeria in the field of telecommunication and ICT industry and to share the experience we have with Nigerians. By implementing this training course, the Chinese government is to nurture highly skilled participators in telecommunication and ICT industry. By raising the level of participators in the industry we can help Nigeria to develop telecommunication and ICT.”
The envoy expressed optimism that the success of the training course will lift the capacity building cooperation between China and Nigeria to a new stage.
In his remarks, the managing director of Huawei, Abuja Office, Mr Li Teng, said, though the Chinese government had partnered Nigeria in the area of capacity building since 2014 and had trained over 4000 Nigerians so far, the training programme presented another opportunity to equip participants to improve ICT infrastructure in their various fields.
“Huawei has been continuously providing ICT trainings to Nigerian society. In partnership with the Ministry of Communication, Huawei had trained over one thousand girls in ICT skills in 2014. In 2015, Huawei signed an MOU with the office of the vice president to provide training for 2000 unemployed youth to empower them with necessary ICT skill. This program is still ongoing and so far more than 1000 youths have taken the training.
“This time, we have been presented with another opportunity to hold training for ministries and government agencies to equip participants with the skills to develop national ICT plan and improve ICT infrastructure in their various fields,” he said.
In his keynote address, the chairman of Nigeria-China Relations Committee, Senator Yusuf Buba Yakub, after his visit to Huawei Abuja office said, “When I went down around your building this morning, I see that most of your staff are Nigerians, I think about 70 percent or so. I want to thank you for that and we want to encourage you in that part.”
On the behalf of the Speaker of House of Representative, he assured that the Nigeria parliament will continue to make laws that will make the company’s operation in Nigeria very favourable and without hitches.
Earlier, the director, IC, Ministry of Budget and Planning, Samuel Eloho, emphasised the importance of ICT pointing out that people cannot survive in today’s world without Information and communication technology.