As new technologies and innovations emerge and become ubiquitous and demanding, African communications ministers led by Barrister Adebayo Shittu, Nigeria’s Communications Minister, and Mrs. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, his Ghanaian counter, 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. Soundara kumar, 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!”