The President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu has described the Internet as a leveler for education and prosperity in a digital economy, even as software Nigeria has the key and capacity to contribute to national development.
Mba-Uzoukwu made this known in his keynote address to the 2021 Nigeria DigitalSENSE Forum on Internet Governance for Development (IG4D) held at the Golden Tulip Essential Hotel, International Airport Road, Lagos on Thursday, June 10, and chaired by the President, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Prof. Adesina Sodiya, who was represented by Dr. Olusoji Okunoye, with the theme: Digital Cooperation: Enhancing Multistakeholder Governance for Digital Economy.
ISPON president who dwelt on “Role of Nigerian Software in Enhancing Governance in Digital Economy,” noted that there is nothing in human history as transformative as the Internet, because it has largely changed everything and outlined some of these epochal changes to include the potential to level the playing field, namely education, healthcare, prosperity, lifestyle and well-being.
He also pointed out how humanity got here was not a stand-alone, hence the imperative to recognize an ‘ecosystem’ in the technology space that is systemic in outlook. Highlighting that in technology, the most intriguing ecosystem is the innovation ecosystem, a “human network that generates extraordinary creativity and output on a sustainable basis.”
Such an ecosystem, Mba-Uzoukwu said, performs best when it recognizes, synergizes and optimizes on the basis of a multi-stakeholder approach that accommodates the complexity of the ecosystem which creates dimensions of impact that make governance an intentional mandate.
“Existence of telecommunication infrastructure, the first precondition to overcome the digital divide; Current economic models for Internet access, place a disproportionate burden on developing countries, Challenges to financing access to backbones, ‘Free-rides’ of Over-The-Top services and challenges of balancing their contributions to telecom sectors of developing countries based on issues of taxation,” he said.
For instance, he said, global regulation of intellectual property rights paved the way for developing countries to access knowledge and information online, which led to enthronement of “Truly, ‘Education For All’ for the first time in human history,” which avails developing countries to catch up, and this is the single most important factor.
This factor, he also said, encouraged ISPON to dare to dream again, which underscored the group’s answer in envisioning growth of Software Nigeria into a world-class industry, and a key contributor to national development.
To realise this, ISPON President revealed, they planned to sensitize the community about the local software industry; provide fora to share software development initiatives; aggressively support the expansion of Nigeria’s human capital, foster co-operation with Nigeria IT in diaspora; cooperate with other countries to boost global exposure and competitiveness.
At the policy level, Mba-Uzoukwu said that the government, industry and academia, must continue to drive the evolution of policy across multiple dimensions including national security, intellectual property and privacy rights, education, information access and data sovereignty.
Education, for instance, he said, must be harnessed with the national aspirations to the potentials of technology for powering the pragmatic development of world-class, innovation cum oriented and entrepreneurial work force. He emphasized that employment and entrepreneurship must deploy technology in support of the genuine aspirations of Nigerian youth.
“Beginning with the National Association of Computer Science Students (NACOSS), we will create and expose opportunities for jobs and wealth creation through personal enterprise,” he declared.
Further, ISPON President said that by nurturing innovation as a national capability, “we must be the advocates and a platform for unleashing creativity and ingenuity of our people, particularly the youth and women whose access to opportunity are hindered.”
Mba-Uzoukwu underscored the fact that to achieve the World Summit on the Information Society, there is need for a common vision, desire and commitment to build a people-centric, inclusive and development-oriented Information society where everyone can create, access, utilize and share information.
He cautioned that the implication of non-alignment to the above common vision, the concepts of social justice, merit and asynchronous development will not be part of its main drivers.
He noted that with the rapid diffusion of technology, “we must encourage a bridge-building, inclusive and partnering approach to community that embraces and empowers the youth, women and leverages on the experience of the elders.”
NDSF2021 witnessed other speakers including the Managing Director of the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSAT), Dr. Abimbola Alale who was represented by the Acting Manager Marketing, Mrs Ibiye Ukoko, Mr. Aderemi Adejumo of CloudFlex, Mr. Mohammed Rudman represented by Mr. Jacob Dagunduro, Executive Director, Operations at DigitalSENSE Africa Mrs. Nkem Nweke, and Mr. Francis Uzor or Wisdom Computer Technologies, among others.