In the piece, EHIME ALEX takes a look at how ICT is boosting Nigeria’s economy, which Huawei, as a big tech solutions provider, is promoting
Technology companies are fast making waves in Nigeria and contributing tremendously to the country’s economy. According to data by the National Bureau of Statistics, Information and Communications Technology has the highest growth rate in 2020 as well as in the first quarter of 2021. The sector contributed 11.21 per cent to the nation’s economy while retaining top position in Gross Domestic Product growth.
Last year, the Coronavirus Disease struck the world’s economies, after surfacing in Wuhan, China, and spreading to other parts of the world, forcing countries to shut down economic activities and enforced lockdown; the first time since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
While the lockdown was on, people relied more on digital solutions to carry out daily economic activities.
The ICT sector has the potential to grow Nigeria’s GDP in a way that can lead to economic stability, says Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami.
It is worthy to mention that the sector has grown from less than one per cent of GDP in 2001 to almost 10 per cent in 2021. A mixed economy, Nigeria has focused on telecommunications and technology, a strategy already paying off and expected to see its GDP soaring higher in the future.
Also worthy of note is that Nigeria is now a premier investment destination with about 55 active tech hubs raising a total of $94.9m, higher than any other African country. A big tech company, Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Limited, is committed to enhancing availability, accessibility and affordability of ICT services by boosting ICT infrastructure with quality and innovative solutions tailored towards local needs and equipping the youth with ICT knowledge and skills.
“As a leading global ICT solutions provider, Huawei has been witnessing, participating and being a part of what has happened in the ICT development in Nigeria,” says Huawei Managing Director, Huawei Technologies Company Nigeria Limited, Mr Zhang Lulu.
This growth offers new possibilities for the country’s growing labour force, in terms of employment and entrepreneurship.
“Nigeria is positioning to be the continent’s leader in digitalisation and ICT has the potential of employing and lifting millions of Nigerians out of poverty,” says Pantami.
Huawei has made noticeable impact in promoting ICT ecosystem development in Nigeria, the Minister of Communications, Dr Adebayo Shittu, said at a meeting with the Chairman, Supervisory Board, Huawei Technologies, Mr Jason Li, in Lagos.
According to the Nigerian Senate, the technological impact of the 5G network will revolutionise Nigerians’ way of life from education to agriculture, security to entertainment and governance in general when deployed.
Huawei, in collaboration with MTN, launched the first 5G network trial in Nigeria in 2019, making it the first West African country to launch the 5G network on a trial basis.
According to the Chairman, MTN Nigeria, Dr Ernest Ndukwe, 5G has a lot of potential.
The 5G is currently the most advanced IT network in the world.
The ‘Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020–2025’ official document stipulates that digital technology offers Nigeria the opportunity to grow and diversify its economy from over-dependence on oil and gas export proceeds.
In 2019, Huawei and Globacom Limited signed a Memorandum of Understanding to construct Glo II submarine optic fibre cable, expected to increase broadband penetration in the country and provide ultra-high capacity connection to oil communities as well as enhance the network efficiency in all Globacom operating areas.
Entrepreneurship and employment
A country currently estimated at 211.4 million people, Nigeria is faced with the tremendous challenge to put the 32.5 per cent unemployed population to work. In March this year, Huawei embarked on a mission to invest $150m in digital talent development over the next five years, a project designed to benefit about three million Nigerian youths.
“Huawei partners with Nigerian governments, educational institutes and industry to equip the future leaders with the latest knowledge at the highest global level and provide them opportunities to apply the knowledge to achieve a better future for the continent,” says Huawei’s Managing Director, Mr Trevor Liu.
Also, Huawei has trained more than 20,000 ICT engineers, who manage the main telecommunications network operations and maintenance, 2,000 Nigerian youths and 1,000 federal civil servants.
The Huawei Authorised Information and Network Academy, in collaboration with more than 70 universities in Nigeria, was established to train students for free in the latest internationally-relevant ICT skills in subjects such as Networks, Cloud Computing and Big Data. Over 10,000 Nigerian students have reportedly benefitted.
Award and commendation
In June this year, Huawei received accolades for sponsoring the second edition of ‘ATU Africa Innovation Challenge.’ Themed ‘Best Ecosystem Practices in Africa Enabling Youth ICT Innovation,’ the competition was meant to run from June 15 to September 28, 2021.
In July, the tech giant donated a computer laboratory to the Government Senior Secondary School, Danbatta, Kano State, a project tagged ‘Professor Umar Garba Danbatta Computer Laboratory.’
“The facility will not only bring invaluable benefits to the students and teachers of GSS, Danbatta, it will also impact neighbouring schools,” the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof Umar Danbatta, remarked. Also, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, added his voice, sometime in April, commending Huawei for the conscious and continuous efforts at supporting the development of Nigeria, especially through investing in education, talent cultivation and knowledge transfer.
In February, Huawei emerged one of the top employers in Nigeria. The Chinese tech giant received the annual ‘Top Employers Certification Award’ for the second year in a row. According to The Top Employer Institute, “Huawei Sub-Saharan Africa achieved Continental HQ Certification for 2021, after being certified a top employer in four or more countries, which included Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia and Kenya.”
A provider of ICT infrastructure and smart devices, Huawei basically serves the telecom operators that provide Internet, broadband, wireless, plus fixed and mobile phone services. It also serves the enterprises, organisations, institutions, governments and public utilities as well as industries like finance, energy, transportation and manufacturing in the same field. Consumers, who buy smartphones, smart watches, laptop computers and other devices are not left out.
Huawei was awarded the Leadership Telecoms Company of the Year 2019, an award recognised as prestigious, which celebrates organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors for distinguishing themselves in a calendar year.
The leading tech giant had also graced the Nigeria Tech Innovation and Telecom Awards, renowned as the most esteemed accolade in Nigeria’s ICT space. In 2020, Huawei won NTITA’s three major awards, the ‘Excellence in ICT and Cybersecurity Development in Nigeria’, ‘Excellence in Technological Innovation’ and ‘Network Infrastructure Provider of the Year’.
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