Form Ideas Around AI And Rural Telephony, Stakeholders Urged

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Nigerians have been urged to form ideas around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and rural telephony as these two areas can turn around the fortune of Nigeria in terms of economy and employment, especially for the youths.

This is one of the several calls made at the ‘Idea Dinner with the Top CEOs’, which was organised by TechLife Media & Communications Limited for major stakeholders drawn from the Nigerian business community, especially those in the Information and Communications Technology industry.

Specifically, Mr. Yemi Oshodi, the Chief Executive Officer of iCSL and Coordinator of 2024 Best Ideas, said what rules the world today is an idea as every noticeable breakthrough in the world came as a result of an idea.

While urging Nigerians with great ideas to share them with government agencies like the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Yemi believes that Artificial Intelligence is a game changer that is going to do wonders in every sector with an emphasis on agriculture, security and financial services.

“My appeal to every Nigerian is to think and come up with ideas that can move the country. When you have an idea, do not hide it thinking someone may likely use it. The most important thing is it helps to move our country forward,” he said.

Also, in the area of rural telephony, Mr. Yemi believes that it is an untapped area that will massively aid the development of the digital economy that is being championed by the federal government.

According to him, even though the government has started working to get the whole country covered in terms of telephone services, many rural areas remained underserved and unserved. These areas without telephone service remained so after 23 years of liberalisation of mobile services as a result of the lack of ideas.

He argued that if Nigerians can explore the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) domiciled with the NCC by coming up with workable ideas, all 774 local government areas across the country will be covered by telephone services.

This will in turn create direct and indirect jobs, reduce rural-urban migration and ultimately, increase the industry’s gross domestic product (GDP) to the economy.

Other stakeholders who spoke at the event supported by Information Connectivity Solutions Limited, Digital Realty, Internet Exchange Point of Nigeria, TeamNigeria for Change, Inlaks, Coscharis Technologies and a host of others seek ideas to manufacture most equipment needed for the industry to thrive locally.

They noted that such an idea will help solve the forex challenges that Nigeria is presently grappling with.

Meanwhile, in her welcome address, Ms. Ugochi Emmanuel, Convener of the ‘Idea Dinner with the Top CEOs’ said the Idea Dinner focusing on the theme “Critical Thinking to Building a Sustainable Digital Economy” is a call to awakening the minds of Nigerians.

“We are acutely aware of the transformative power of digital technologies and their profound impact on every aspect of our lives. However, with these opportunities also come significant challenges that demand our collective attention and strategic thinking. Thus, it is important to call the meeting involving both the public and private sector players,” she said.

She noted that innovations such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, big data analytics, and the Internet of Things are reshaping business models, disrupting traditional industries, and creating new opportunities. Thus, staying abreast of these developments and harnessing their full potential requires not just technological prowess but also critical thinking and strategic foresight.

“Addressing the challenges of cybersecurity and data privacy demands not only robust technological solutions but also a deep understanding of risk management, ethical considerations and regulatory compliance. This is where we need ideas,” she added.

According to her, the quest for a sustainable digital economy necessitates a concerted effort to bridge the digital divide. Also, overcoming disparities in the industry requires innovative strategies, collaboration across sectors, and a commitment to ensuring that the benefits of the digital revolution are shared equitably.

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