Ever since the telecommunications sector was liberalised by the government of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his first tern as civilian President, the sector, and technology generally, has witnessed tremendous development.
The tech industry is, however, set to enter another phase of advancement which all stakeholders must prepare for. I recently had a chat with Ajovi Aror, the GMD of IPNX Nigeria Limited to examine what the stakeholders should be preparing for in order to succeed in the coming dispensation.
Ajovi Aror is a respected ICT expert with close to three decades industry experience.
Stating his overview of the current state of the ICT sector in Nigeria, Ajovi said that the ICT sector, like many other sectors in Nigeria today, is struggling under the weight of the current economic recession.
He, however, noted that a bigger challenge of the ICT industry is that Nigeria is mostly acting as distributor of ICT products and services of imported brands.
Another challenge he noticed is the general lack of support for local entrepreneurs, (Start-ups), who are struggling to provide products and services, especially, in the software environment.
Ajovi maintains that, for Nigeria to develop the ICT sector, it cannot remain as resellers, but move on to be producers of the products and services required to stimulate the sector, thus, adding more value.
This, he says, can be achieved if government has more belief in, and supports our Start-ups, as well as inject more investment in them.
Although, some stakeholders think that the bane of Nigeria's progress in the sector is the fact that our policy does not enforce that Nigerians must be part of these foreign tech companies as is the case in Ghana, for instance, Ajovi thinks that this is not necessarily so because, the foreign enterprises such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, etc., are dominating the tech space all over the world.
What we should do, according to him, is to go the way if China by encouraging our local entrepreneurs too to develop equivalents of these behemoths, so, they too can thrive.
In China, for instance, they have Alibaba as an equivalent of Amazon, Baidu as equivalent of Google, etc., thus, enjoying the strategic intent of economic, security and development for their country.
Russia and India, Ajovi says, are already stepping up in this direction and we, in Nigeria, too must follow suit.
On the state of Nigeria with the Broadband to improve our service provision, Ajovi is of the opinion that, although, the will and intent are still there, the foreign exchange rate is not favourable.
He noted that investment in Broadband is hinged on a stable foreign exchange regime to enable investors plan and get return on investment.
He sees moving to 4G as the next step in the Broadband quest and this requires a lot if investment in fibre optics backbone.
Ajovi is on the view that right of way is still a local issue which the operstors and the government must resolve.
Many Nigerians are currently complaining about poor services in the telecom sector. On this, Ajovi says mobile services needs to be improved on by the networks.
He, however, said that, with Fixed networks, the quality of service is rising steadily as better ways and response time are now observed by them.
On his thought on Nigeria's infrastructure capabilities to drive Cloud tech to cut cost, Ajovi cautioned that, Cloud has a potential to widen the gulf between service providers abroad and our local development because we are not in that field yet, hence, hosting with these foreign Cloud outfits, hence, Nigeria should develop this area too for our progress.
CFA is the Founder, www.CFAtech.ng & Co-producer/Presenter,Tech Trends on Channels Television