Nigeria, and indeed the world, faces an unprecedented crisis in the form of COVID-19, and the country’s lack of preparedness is glaring.
However, The Guardian Nigeria reports that – having tried everything and failed – investment in innovation and knowledge economy can help the country navigate its way out of this recession. The Guardian notes that during any period of recession most countries invest in human capital.
For Nigeria, ICT presents a shortcut out of the present economic conundrum. And experts are in agreement. The establishment of a software engineering institute will help create homegrown solutions for local problems.
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A software engineering institute will also help Nigerians discover competencies in software development, software acquisition, and cybersecurity – essential skills in ICT.
No modern economy can exist without fundamental information and communications technology infrastructure because these are the tools for national and economic development, says Chris Uwaje, chairman of Mobile Software Solutions.
“Yes, a 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,” he says.
Dr. Yele Okeremi, president of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), believes that an institute in this guise should only be as an interim arrangement.
In terms of creating awareness about software in Nigeria, Okeremi, also the founder and CEO of Precise Financial Systems, believes that there is a need to change the narrative of indigenous software.
“Our indigenous software narratives are not based on reality. Today, the number of failed foreign software is more than failed indigenous software and these are not talked about because people have [more patience in dealing] with foreign software 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 adds.
James Agada, CEO of Ixzdore Labs, agrees. He says that there are three ways to build technical competence: first is to teach mathematics in schools. The second part includes research, and the third aspect is experience – you have to actually utilize the research results through embarking on big challenging projects.
Agada continues to say 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.
Edited by Luis Monzon
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