In this digital age, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) empowerment is a major tool for personal and corporate development. ICT empowerment to me is the ability to equip oneself with the latest ICT skills available around the world today in such areas like computer engineering, mobile technology, the internet, telecommunication, information technology and others, with the objective of improving ones standard of living, provide jobs for the unemployed. It has been in recent years the major tool used to drive economies in countries like China, Sweden, Malaysia, Singapore, India and Korea among others.
Businesses are done at the speed of thought with ICT.
Looking at the use and deployment of ICT in developing nations like Nigeria, a lot needs to be done for us to fully harness or get the benefits of an ICT empowered state. The penetration of ICT in Nigeria is less than 10%. We need to bridge the digital divide between us as a nation and the advanced nations. This call for personal awakening and reorientation, there should be a paradigm shift from us being job seekers to job providers, from being good consumers of technology to great providers of technology. No one is going to do it for us; we need to face the challenges squarely. I do marvel at the technological prowess of India and China, they are unarguably the best in ICT today in the world, they are gradually taking over the world with ICT.I don’t think they waited for any country to tell them what needs to be done, they developed their ICT capability themselves and even have enough to export to countries like ours. As a matter of fact, most of the ICT companies in Nigeria today are owned by the Indians which show the veracity of my statement.
Though a lot has been said by the government on this important sector, we need not rely on the government; I am also in support of government’s initiative in the development of indigenous computers under the aegis of Computer for All Nigeria Initiative (CANi) which has Omatek, Zinox and other computer companies as partners. It is a welcomed idea.
This is actually the time for individual ICT skill acquisition, our young graduates looking for jobs should start looking at ICT as the tool that will make the difference and give them a life, no matter what profession you are in or you want to go into, you need ICT empowerment. We should develop ourselves beyond the basic computer appreciation courses, we should begin to think and focus on areas like software engineering, networking, systems engineering, GSM technology, database administration, communication technology, information management, web technology, internet marketing and many others. We really have a dearth of professionals in these areas. Professionals in these areas are being sought after here in Nigeria. The future of ICT lies in our hands so let us start today no matter how little it seems, your ability to keep on acquiring these skills is what makes the difference. The internet should also be used as a pool of relevant information and used constructively.