The Federal Government has started shopping for private sector investment for the actualisation of Abuja National ICT Park. It said the Park will create a platform for the acquisition of ICT knowledge, appropriate initiatives, incubating tech ideas into viable startups, research and development, testing and certifications of ICT solutions in Nigeria.
The Minister of Communications, Dr. Adebayo Shittu who spoke during a Business Roundtable for the Financing of the National ICT Park at the Abuja Technology Village, in Lagos at the weekend, said ICT/Telecom industry is key to the economy and an avenue for the youthful population and consumers to unlock the potential in the sector through policies and programmes that have the capacity to boost the economy in collaboration with stakeholders.
Shittu said the objective of the meeting was to appraise the major stakeholders and the private companies operating in the ICT ecosystem of the Ministry’s plan to establish ICT Park and to solicit their cooperation and support towards its success, execution, and operationalisation of the project.
He noted that ICT Park projects are capital intensive hence the need for industry stakeholders to partner Ministry of Communications to establish the project in order to bridge the practical skills gap that exists between the academia and the industry.
He said: “The collaboration between the Ministry of Communications and Abuja Technology Village (ATV), had led to a 6,344sqm of commercial land earmarked for the establishment of a National ICT Park within the Free Trade Zone owned and operated by the ATV.”
He added that the event will give insight into ATV Free Trade Zone; showcase the conceptual model of the proposed National ICT Park, present investment and partnership opportunities to venture capitalist, academic institutions, business angels, investment bankers and development partners.
Shittu said the project is part of government’s preparation for the 4th Industrial Revolution, which is predicted to happen globally in the near future noting that the establishment of the centre will encourage investment in the ICT sector and complement the proposed ICT university which will also produce the required skilled manpower for Africa to partake in the 4th Industrial Revolution.
In his words “ICTs are essential in driving entrepreneurship, innovation and economic growth as well as building strong interface between the academia and the industry, and we want industry participation and synergy on this project that will be of immense benefit to the ICT ecosystem be it the student community, the academia, and the industry”.
He said the country badly needed adequate pool of qualified manpower to sustain the growth of the ICT sector noting that Government, together with the private sector, is implementing a series of training programmes to disseminate ICT literacy and usage in all spheres of activities across the country.
Shittu stated that establishment of the park will further facilitate digital capacity building for immediate employment, entrepreneurial skills development, job and wealth creation as well as promoting the digital economy in an era of disruptive technology through effective regulations.
In her remarks, the Managing Director, Abuja Technology Village, Ms. Hauwa Yabani pointed out that the village was established to serve as a catalyst and desire transformation of Nigeria as knowledge-based economy adding that the park is strategically located and focused on energy, ICT and biotechnology.
In his presentation, the Managing Director, Rack Centre, Dr. Ayotunde Coker, expressed that there should be comprehensive cloud and content distribution ecosystem noting that every country on Atlantic coast of Africa is directly connected by Fibre and direct high-speed fibre connectivity. He said technology village funding model should encompass the provision of core infrastructure, power, and tax incentives for investment, exercise duties concessions and input cost concessions.