Obviously, Africa as a continent faces serious challenges arising from population explosion and rising unemployment. This portends danger for the continent if not addressed, says the President and Chairman of the Board, Africa Information and Communication Technology Foundation (AFICTF), Mr. Tony Ojobo.
The erstwhile Director, Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) who was speaking during AFICTF event in Lagos recently opined that the increase in criminal activities (on the continent) can be traced to unemployment.
This, he said, underscores the need for a concrete African ICT Roadmap to encourage innovation and job creation. Mr. Ojobo who is also the Founder of TechX Innovation Hub located in Enugu State, Nigeria, opined that four (4) critical factors are necessary for ICT development in the continent, “which I call the 4As of ICT development and deployment, namely;
“The need for the nations in the continent to be aware of the capabilities that ICT offers in terms of GDP growth and job creation is imperative. Access is critical to making this happen, especially in terms of availability and affordability. Our leaders need to embrace the use of ICT through its adoption for ease of business and processes required for industrial growth”.
He however, strongly suggested that technology not applied cannot deliver the desired dividends. In this connection, the Foundation, he said will work to advocate for policy development in the areas of emerging technologies such as; Internet of Things ( IoTs); Artificial Intelligence; Big Data; Robotics, etc.
“Our ability to achieve the desired objectives will require the following: Partnerships/Collaborations; Funding; Advocacies and Sensitisation and Capacity Building/Training. True partnerships between governments and non-government actors are essential to addressing a problem as complex as ICT Penetration in Africa.
“No government, nation or agency can meet this challenge alone, hence the synergy through the African ICT Foundation to make information and communication technology more affordable and reachable for Africans everywhere. Our inexhaustible focus is at the intersection of technological innovations such as telecommunications, information technology and data, life sciences, trade and globalization, agricultural Biotechnology and clean energy.
“It is poised towards providing high-quality information analysis, policy pragmatism, and recommendations that can be trusted. These projects shall be implemented through grants and are designed to create demand and promote usage of ICTs in unserved and underserved communities and groups. The projects involve the provision of end-user devices to complement the telecommunication infrastructure that are deployed under the Connectivity Programme.
“For the next two years we shall consciously be making efforts towards holistic involvement in the following activities:
- Engage youths in research and educational activities that involves setting the policy agenda on technological innovations, information and communication technology, trade & globalization and clean energy.
- Getting private sector support on critical industry issues that affect the growth of Africa’s economy
- Working with policymakers to develop and promote policies and ideas, capitalising on the tremendous economic and social benefits ICT provides for Africans.
- Adherence to high standard of research, empowerment and integrity with an internal code of ethics grounded in analytical rigor, policy pragmatism, and independence from external direction or bias.
- Promote skills sustainable for the development of African nationhood.
- Reduce the level of illiteracy and poverty in the society.
- Engage youths on IT exchange programmes of poverty alleviation and economic right
“We shall encourage and support the emergence of ICT Innovation Hubs in the continent, which will serve as platforms for growth of startups with capacity for development of disruptive innovations”, he pledged.