Communications Ministers to Shape Africa’s ICT Future at Summit in Nigeria

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By Adunola Oladapo –

As new technologies and innovations emerge and become ubiquitous and demanding, African communications ministers led by Nigeria’s Communications Minister, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, and his Ghanaian counter, Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, will file out this September 6 and 7 in Nigeria with their Indian counterpart, Shri Manoj Sinha in a determined effort to fashion the future of Africa’s Information and Communications Technology industry.

The occasion is the Indo-Africa ICT Expo & Summit 2017, a two-day forum

designed under the auspices of strengthening Indo-African relations

essentially to move the African ICT industry to greater heights with the

theme ‘Digital Dreams of Developing Nations’.

As explained by Shri Rajesk Kumar Bhatnagar the Director-General, of the

Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC), a body set

up by the Indian Government, which is organising the event, the programme

presents African ICT experts a unique opportunity to present and review

their nations’ ICT plans over short, medium and long term periods.

“Digital Transformation is the need of the time for all the developing

world and nations in Africa and India can share their experiences on

embracing digital technologies, digital competencies, digital literacy for

re-inventing lives and changes covering all aspects of human society in

the respective nations,” Shri Bhatnagar noted.

Other topics for the conference also range from training, regulation in

telecom sector, Convergence of IT and Telecom, e-Health, e-Governance,

e-education, e-finance, infrastructure, new technologies, standardisation,

spectrum auction & optimisation, licensing, evolving needs of consumers,

service providers, among others.

India’s giant strides in ICTs are globally recognised as a shiny example

for all developing economies to emulate, hence, this event being organised

by the TEPC in conjunction with the National Association of Software and

Services Companies (NASSCOM) of India offers the African continent a huge

opportunity to learn and adopt new strategies for technology growths.

Newly appointed Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communications,

Alhaji Abdulaziz M. Abdullahi, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian

Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar G. Danbatta, Director-General

of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the

Managing Directors of Galaxy Backbone, Mr. Yusuf Kazaure and Nigeria

Communication Satellite Limited, Mrs. Abimbola Alale, as well as the

Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC),

Engr. Aliyu Abubakar Aziz are top on the list of speakers and dignitaries

for the event.

Key industry associations in Nigeria, including the Information Technology

Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria

(ATCON), Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON),

Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Nigeria Computer

Society (NCS) as well as the Computers and Allied Products Dealers

Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), have thrown their weight behind the event

with full participation. Also on the list are the Nigerian Association of

Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and the

Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

According to the organisers, a key highlight of the event will be an ICT

Ministers’ Roundtable Meeting scheduled for September 6, on the guiding

theme ‘Digital Vision of the Developing Nations,” a platform for ministers

to present and share the ICT visions of their countries over the next five

years thereby showcasing partnership opportunities that such vision would

bring to the industry at large for the two regions. With lots of

opportunities for SMEs, the event will also showcase the best of the

telecom and IT industry from Africa and India.

ATCON President, Engr. Olusola Teniola, ITAN President, Mr. Tayo Adeniyi,

ALTON Chairman, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, among others, have so far been

listed to speak at the event. From India, the speakers include Mr. Shyamal

Ghosh, Chairman of TEPC, Sanjay Nayak, Chief Executive Officer and

Managing Director at Tejas Networks, Mr. M. Soundarakumar, Director,

Centre for Development of Telematics, Bangalore,  Shivendra Singh, Vice

President and Head of Global Trade Development at NASSCOM, and Mr. Rajesh

Tuli, Managing Director of Coral Telecom which is the leading Indian

communication solutions provider with significant focus on the defence and

next generation communications space.

Other speakers on the Indian delegation are Mr. Rajesh K. Pathak, Director

Telecom Centre of Excellence (TCOE) who is also Deputy Director General

(International Cooperation) at Department of Telecommunications, as well

as Mr. Rakesh K. Bhatnagar, the Director-General of the TEPC, who comes

with long standing experience in telecom regulation having been advisor to

the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), among his many areas of

expertise.

The organisers, TEPC, is working in conjunction with the National

Association of Software and Service Companies, (NASSCOM), which is the

premier trade body and the chamber of commerce of the IT-BPM industries in

India.  The TEPC stated that the  vision of a knowledge based society “is

built on an edifice where IT and Telecommunications merge,” adding that

“rapid technological convergence has already established a symbiotic

relationship between the development strategies of IT and

telecommunications. IT flourishes on the telecom-network and in turn

permits modern day telecommunications to use sophisticated IT-software.”

The Council says as Africa is among the fastest growing markets

worldwide, improving macroeconomic indicators, conducive business

environment, larger, younger and more affluent population, rising middle

class – all are strong indicators of not only a source of capital but

also of job creation, skills development, technology transfer,

infrastructure development, responsible governance and most of all –

sustained growth that eventually will lead to transformation of African

economies!”

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