Technology has been identified as the biggest driver of change for developing nations of the world, and has been instrumental in Africa’s transformation over the past decade. This was the assessment of Etisalat Nigeria’s Chief Executive Officer, Steven Evans at the just-concluded Economist Conference sponsored by Etisalat and held in Lagos. According to him, most developing nations around the world have come to recognise the importance of information technology in the development of their various countries.
Evans who was represented at the event by the company’s Director of Network Engineering, Temi Ogunbambi, highlighted some of the obstacles to the growth of the telecoms sector, saying that tough regulatory and policy situations were faced on both federal and state levels, especially when applying for right of way or bringing in infrastructure.
“There needs to be some form of national integration. Etisalat Nigeria invests a significant sum in base stations. There needs to be public education and inclusion, to develop a sense of purpose and ownership so that subscribers become aware that if base stations are destroyed, the community will be deprived. Until the environment and policies are friendly, we cannot fully unleash the potential of investments,” he said. Ogunbambi was speaking on leveraging technology to enable inclusive, private-sector led growth.
In his keynote address at the conference which had the theme: ‘Nigeria Summit 2013: Enabling and Implementing Change,’ Goodluck Jonathan, president of Nigeria said Africa is one of the world’s most rapidly growing economies. The president outlined his outlook for Nigeria for the next decade, saying that government’s commitment was to ensure a clean electoral process, economic inclusion, industrialise the country, especially through the oil and agricultural sectors for the purpose of job and wealth creation.
Jonathan said the emphasis was also on the private sector, for which the environment is being improved and policies created. He said in the next few years, the results will be very obvious. “50 percentof the population are below the age of 35. We have an enormous youth population that we must create jobs for. By creating entrepreneurial skills for young people, one youth can employ five or more,” he said.