Akpabio Urges African Leaders on ICT Investment

By Ikenna UGWU

LAGOS: Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akapabio, has called on African governments to invest their resources in Information Communication Technology (ICT) to encourage development.

 He made the assertion in an interview with journalists at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos on his way to Dubai to deliver a paper at the Nigerian Day of ITU Telecom World 2012 in Dubai.

 He said African countries will find it difficult to compete on the global scale should various governments fail to embrace ICT, insisting that the importance of ICT in today’s world could not be overstressed.

 Akpabio noted that in order not to be caught napping, the Akwa ibom State government recently established an e-library, the first of its kind in the West African sub-region, adding that the library covers an area of 31 square metres with a building footprint area of 4, 000 square metres.

 Thus, users of the library would have access to over 60 million downloadable e-books, e-journals, audio and video books and would be able to learn new languages in the language laboratory, adding that the library is fitted with anti-theft book security device.

The Governor noted that Nigeria was not left out in the revolution in the ICT world, which he analysed had moved the country from paltry 600, 000 telephone lines in 1999 to over 100,000,000 mobile functional lines in 2012.

 Consequently, he emphasised the need for developing nations to encourage their citizens to embrace ICT, stressing that this was the greatest gift they could give to their posterity.

“Currently, global statistics on internet usage indicate that Nigeria is 11th in the world and first in Africa with over 50 million estimated users. Among the 20 top countries in internet usage, Nigeria is the only African country included and has more internet users than European countries like Spain, Italy and Turkey.

“Statistics for patronage of the leading social media platform, facebook, also shows that Nigeria comes at number 31 and is the leading country in Africa while South Africa comes second with 32.

 “On our e-library in Akwa Ibom State, it was designed as a one stop information and research centre. It has over 30, 000 books and 350 ICT workstations. It comes complete with distance learning support and professional certifications. With spacious conference halls and video conferencing facilities, along with online public access catalogue, we are poised t become a key driver in the ICT sector,” he said.

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