The weakness of the economic recovery in Nigeria raises questions about the ability of all the fiddling by economic managers to underpin the economy; and as Nigeria and indeed the world face an unprecedented crisis in the form of COVID-19, the country’s lack of preparedness is even more glaring. Now, having tried everything and failed- investment in innovation and knowledge economy can help the country navigate its way out of this recession.
During periods of economic recession, most countries invest in human capital. For Nigeria, ICT presents a short cut out of the present economic conundrum; and experts are in agreement. For instance, the establishment of a software engineering institute will help create homegrown solutions for local problems. The software engineering institute will also help Nigerians gain competencies in software development, software acquisition, and cybersecurity.
According to Chris Uwaje, Chairman, Mobile Software Solutions, no modern economy can exist without fundamental information and communications technology infrastructure because these are the tools for national and economic development. “Yes, software engineering institute is a very good idea. But there should also be massive investments in ICT infrastructure like technology parks or hubs to help reduce unemployment in the country because restless youth can channel their energies into productive ventures” Uwaje said.
Dr. Yele Okeremi, President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), added that an institute should be as an interim arrangement. On creating awareness about software in Nigeria, Okeremi, also the founding and chief executive officer of Precise Financial Systems Ltd (PFS), said there is need to change the narrative of indigenous software.
“Our indigenous software narratives are not based on reality. Today, the numbers of failed foreign software are more than failed indigenous software and these are not talked about because people have patience with foreign softwares as they see them as world class. We change this narrative by promoting good indigenous software through empowering our indigenous software entrepreneurs’ financial standing to become role models for our young people” he added.
Nodding in agreement, James Agada, Chief Executive Officer of Ixzdore Labs, said there are three ways to build technical competence; first is to teach mathematics in schools; second part is research; and third aspect is experience; you have to actually utilize the research result through embarking on big challenging projects.
Agada, who is immediate past Managing Director, CWG PLC, said that “Technical competence must be built for something that is generating money to keep them there, which is a project” Their unanimous consensus however is that government and its functionaries must muster the needed drives and strategies to harness these latent forces to fire the kiln of development. Necessary awareness must also be created and imbued on all Nigerians on the need to encourage and patronise locally made ICT products.