The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) is building six technology parks across the geo-political zones, and it is in the process of completing the first phase of the project in four of the six zones of the country.
NCC, which listed the zones to include Enugu in the South-East; Abeokuta in the South-West; Maiduguri in the North-East; and Kano in the North-West, noted that the move is with a strategic intent of boosting digital skills among young people, promoting innovations, providing jobs for young Nigerians and ultimately supporting the Federal Government Digital Agenda.
The NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who disclosed this in Osogbo, Osun State, said the ICT Parks, which are at various levels of completion, would deliver a fully functional Tier-4 Digital Industry Complex (DIC) that will involve a commercial hub for ICT capacity building and digital skills, employment creation and entrepreneurial activities, as well as smart city deployment across the country.
Danbatta, who said the NCC targets youth development in the country with the establishment of the parks, urged them to empower themselves in areas including Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing; Internet of Things and Big Data.
The NCC EVC, while making reference to the World Economic Forum 2019, which affirmed that at least 133 million new roles may emerge globally by 2022 as a result of the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms, said ICT holds the ace as the revolution has created opportunities for the youth in the labour market globally.
He said the ICT/Telecoms sector potential remains huge in the global economy, stressing that it brings huge opportunities for young people to tap from and impact their world creatively.
Referencing the Global System of Mobile Association (GSMA), Danbatta said: “Between 2020-2025, Unique Mobile Subscribers are expected to grow from 5.2 billion to 5.7 billion; SIM connections from 8.1 billion to 8.8 billion, mobile Internet users from 4.0 billion to five billion; and operator revenues and investment from $1.04 trillion to $1.15 trillion.
“4G connections will grow to 57 per cent; 5G will have 1.8 billion connections; usage of Smartphones will become 81 per cent, and; Internet of Things will grow from 13.1 billion to 24 billion connections. In addition, mobile industry contribution to GDP would grow by 5.1 per cent of GDP from $4.4 trillion to $4.8 trillion.”
Danbatta stressed that youths can further pay attention to the following technology trends, including hyper-connectivity, supercomputing, cloud computing, a smarter world and cyber security.
According to him, the WEF projects that about 70 per cent of new value created in the economy over the next decade will be based on digitally enabled platform business models.
“Therefore, the NCC has thus resolved to pursue vigorously, the comprehensive deployment of broadband infrastructure and attract relevant investments to remain pivotal for the transformation of other sectors of the economy through ICT,” he stated.
As such, he listed some of the commission’s initiatives to include ICT hubs and engagement; yearly innovation competition and exhibition; yearly hackathon; ICT Park project; national essay competition; Digital Awareness Programme (DAP) and Advanced Digital Appreciation Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI).
He stressed that the Commission is committed to fostering partnership and collaboration with the Technology Hubs and Start-ups, to accelerate innovations and the creation of a digitally skilled workforce for industrial growth and sustainable development of the nation.