Nigerian Government to Build ICT Parks
Afrrican countries are beginning to realize the place of ICT in promoting economic growth and have begun to latch on to the trend. On February 4th 2021, the Nigerian Minister for Communications and Digital Economy, Hon. Isa Ali Patanmi performed the groundbreaking ceremony for the nation’s first ICT Park in Abuja, the nation’s capital. The establishment of the park is expected to boost digital economy, provide an environment for the growth of innovation driven enterprises (IDEs), serve as an incubator for cutting-edge technology and a mentorship platform for innovators, amongst others.
In his address, the minister stated that the 23.4 million USD ICT Park approved by the Federal Executive Council would be a focal point for the supervision of both public and private ICT hubs in the country. The park which is situated in the Federal Capital Territory would serve as a central hub for connecting young innovative Nigerians from all parts of the country, with vibrant and developmental ideas to receive mentorship and all the support they will need to thrive.
He also enjoined states and the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to key into the establishment of ICT innovation and entrepreneurship parks across the country, to address unemployment and other social challenges in Nigeria. The ICT Park is another giant leap towards the development of the Nigeria’s digital economy and diversification of the country’s economy.
Nigeria is regarded as one of the most tech-friendly countries in the African continent and has attracted significant investments in Tech innovations over the years. The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics reported that Tech accounted for about 14% of the nation’s GDP in Quarter 1 2020. The development of the tech park shows government commitment in deepening the gains recorded.
The park which will be built on a 4,200 square meter land is expected to serve as a center for National ICT Policy formulation, Research and Development. More so, it will be based on the ‘live, work and learn’ concept. The Park is also expected to accommodate the National ICT Exhibition Centre, as well as Museum for ICT and postal services, to showcase technological innovations by Nigerians.
Honourable Patanmi said the ministry is developing a National Policy on Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the ICT Park and many others that would be built around the country later on, will be instrumental in the implementation of the policy.
When the Park is completed, its activities will be geared towards fulfilling the Nation’s digital policy, amongst which the aims include; digital skills acquisition, digital service development and promotion, indigenous content development and adoption, amongst others. The policy is also entrusted with encouraging local Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to go a step further by aiming to become Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs) in the near future.
Digital innovation and entrepreneurship is regarded globally as two very important criteria for achieving indigenous Digital Economy. As such, the minister expressed optimism that the ICT Park will help to boost the digital economy and provide leverage for techies to thrive.