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Software practitioners advocate inclusive IT ecosystem

The Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) has called for an all inclusive Information Technology (IT) ecosystem for the country, if Nigeria must achieve its digital transformation drive for national development.

Members of the institute who made the call in Lagos during the 2019 ISPON President's Dinner, called on the federal government and all software stakeholders to work together and contribute meaningfully to the country's IT ecosystem, in order to rebuild the country technologically and advance the course of digital transformation in the country.

The former Minister of Communications Technology, who is currently the Chairperson of the Global Alliance for Affordable Internet, Dr. Omobola Johnson, who delivered the keynote paper at the dinner with the theme: Having An Inclusive IT Ecosystem, said many have questioned at international forums whether the African Digital Transformation drive was a hype or a reality, but insisted that the drive remained a reality for African countries, especially for Nigeria. She however urged the federal government of Nigeria to come up with better policy and regulatory framework that will not stifle technology growth in the country.

According to Johnson, "Nigerian government must focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education to drive Information and Communications Technology (ICT) education that will boost digital transformation in Nigeria. Software stakeholders must collaborate with government to design specific training on ICT for young Nigerian startups and government must do everything possible to grow the country's infrastructure in order to facilitate national development."

Citing China and India that have become strong forces for global technology development, Johnson challenged ISPON to form a formidable force that would promote inclusive IT ecosystem for the country.

ISPON President, Dr. Yele Okeremi who gave a retrospect of the Nigerian economy during the oil boom, said since the days of oil boom, the fate of the Nigerian economy became tied to the international price of crude oil, and as a result, the economy became buoyant when international oil prices rose, and went down even to the state of recession once the international oil price fell or when Nigeria was unable to meet up with its production quota. Okeremi however said a critical look at IT as a field of endeavour, revealed that the most important ingredient for a successful Information Technology (IT) industry, is intellectual capital or knowledge and training of the Nigerian population in IT. According to him, IT, particularly the software aspect of it could be pursued effectively to promote youth development. "There are several ways that the country can catalyze its IT ecosystem to achieve success and become self-reliant and ultimately be a net contributor to the IT economy of the world, as we seek to build the inclusive IT ecosystem for Nigeria," Okeremi said.

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