Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
The Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has identified the need for translating the country’s technology companies’ participation in the annual Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) into real development of local Information and Communications Technology, (ICT) sector.
To achieve this, ATCON President, Mr. Olusola Teniola said on Tuesday in Lagos that the association as an umbrella body of telecoms companies in Nigeria is working with the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), organizer of GITEX to maximise participation of its 107 members at the exhibition.
According to him, ATCON’s partnership with DWTC is to position its members for taking advantage of opportunities that will boost Foreign Direct investment (FDI) and deepen the nation’s ICT capabilities.
Teniola noted that the largest annual ICT event in the Middle East and African region has provided a platform for Nigeria to showcase technological capabilities but, the country’s participation is yet to reflect in its ICT deliveries.
He said the strategic partnership with the DWTC will assist ATCON members attending the 2017 edition of the Dubai conference in October to effectively tap into the huge networking opportunities at GITEX.
Teniola said, “We want to ensure that this time around, there is full advantage that can be taken by our members and the only way to do this is to seek this strategic partnership with the organisers of the event, build a platform where Nigerian telecoms companies can get better scale, foreign direct investment and leverage other ICT capabilities such as Interne of Things (IoT), big data, among others.”
He argued that despite the over $68 billion so far attracted by the Nigerian telecoms industry over the years, there is a “still a gap” that needed to be filled in the area of FDI inflow, latest technology innovations, and opportunity to showcase “our technological innovations to the global market.”
Noting that he has participated in GITEX three times, Teniola said “GITEX is a strategic event for Dubai and the region. It provides the Nigerian firms a veritable platform to demonstrate ICT capabilities; you have the sponsorship from NCC and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to showcase technology innovations from Nigeria to the world and for Nigerian firms to also learn about new technology trends shaping the world.”
He explained, for instance, that the industry has transited from “voice to data and from data now,” stressing that Nigeria should be talking more on services where artificial intelligence and robotic technologies continue to revolutionise the tech space.
Teniola listed lack of access to the information required to leverage participation at GITEX has one of the gaps hindering Nigerian telecoms firms translating benefits from the event into value addition.
Also, an ATCON member, Mr. Tony Emoekpere, tasked the DWTC on the need to provide adequate information to participating Nigerian companies.
He said, “We need to use this opportunity to ask the DWTC on the need to provide a ‘checklist’ that will provide necessary information and opportunities to Nigerian companies wishing to participate at GITEX.
“In some cases, we tend to assume a lot that Nigerian companies know a lot about GITEX and on what to do while at the conference; whereas, a lot of companies probably don’t know how to go about striking meaningful partnerships that can inform good decision-making event.”
Meanwhile, the Commercial Director of DWTC, Mr. Bilal Al-Rais, who led the Dubai delegation including the President/Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle International Consulting, USA, Mr. Akande Ojo and Chief Executive Officer, Know-How Media International Limited, the local partner to Pinnacle, Mr. Segun Oruame, said the partnership with ATCON has become strategic towards ensuring that Nigerian companies effectively maximise GITEX opportunities.
Al-Rais noted that he has come to Nigeria with is delegation “to help Nigeria grow in scale on a global basis, by promoting tech opportunities. We are not just talking with ATCON, we are here to talk about money; we are talking business, we are to discuss increased FDIs and how Nigerian firms can leverage global ICT capabilities.”
He added further that, “DWTC’s objective is to help companies scale; let them deploy cost-effective solutions that can help them run more successful businesses and subsequently help Nigeria, as a country to evolve into becoming a key player in the global ICT space by also using GITEX platform to showcase innovations tech solution.”
According to him, Africa has continued to be a focus for GITEX in the past seven years.
“We have been getting solutions from young minds in Africa and we would be interested on what Nigeria is contributing to the global ICT ecosystem,” he said.
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