Business Hilights
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Nigeria, India set for new partnership to drive growth in information technology

As part of renewed efforts of both Nigeria and India to deepen trade relations, both governments are set to forge closer cooperation in a determined effort to accelerate growth in Information and Communications Technology.

The drive is expected to boost both countries’ economies through greater penetration and use of advanced technologies and services.

This is the pivotal focus of a two-day international conference and exhibition, under the auspices of Indo-Africa relations, scheduled to hold on September 6th and 7th at the Eko Hotel, Lagos, being organised by the Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC), an organisation set up by the Government of India to promote and support export of telecom equipment and services.

Business Hilights gathered that the Indian Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Communications, Manoj Sinha, in a personal letter to his Nigerian counterpart, and Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, said “India has emerged as one of the prominent trade partners for Africa,” adding that both regions “have shown complementarities for business to expand and grow.”

According to Sinha “IT and Telecom form the backbone for the growth of any country and Africa has been one of the fastest growing markets worldwide in ICT adoption and communication technology.”

He said to emphasise “the relationship and commitment between India and African countries, Government of India has proposed to host the 3rd edition of Indo-Africa ICT Expo 2017 in conjunction with IT and Telecom Summit,” hence the need for collaboration of both countries’ ministries in charge of communications.

“I request your ministry along with ICT departments to be partner for the event,” which he explained “would bring together over 100 ICT companies from India and many more from ICT sector from Africa and attract over 2000 visitors.”

Responding, Shittu praised the idea of the Indo-Africa ICT conference and promised Nigeria’s cooperation and participation to ensure a successful and worthwhile event for the good of India and Nigeria as well as the ICT industry in general.

Shittu averred that “We are delighted about the idea of this event, and from Nigeria we will put in our best to ensure the programme comes out very well,” adding that India and Nigeria share a lot in common, and ICT currently being very topical globally, it is in the interest of both countries to pool resources to deliver results for their common peoples.

Details for the event, made available to Business Hilights showed that a key highlight will be an ICT Ministers’ Roundtable Meeting scheduled for September 6, on the guiding theme ‘Digital Vision of the Developing Nations,” a platform for ministers to present and share the ICT visions of their countries over the next five years thereby showcasing partnership opportunities that such vision would bring to the industry at large for the two regions.

TEPC is working in conjunction with the National Association of Software and Service Companies, (NASSCOM), which is the premier trade body and the chamber of commerce of the IT-BPM industries in India. NASSCOM is a global trade body with more than 1800+ members, which include both Indian and multinational companies that have a presence in India.

Other strategic partners in the summit include industry associations in Nigeria, such as the Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN), Association of Licensed Telecom Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) as well as the Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN) to make the event a full industry-focused programme.

ITAN President, Mr. Tayo Adeniyi, ALTON Chairman, Engr. Gbenga Adebayo, ATCON President, Engr. Olusola Teniola, among others, have so far been listed to speak at the event, while more are to be confirmed as the days go by.

From India, the speakers include Mr. Shyamal Ghosh, Chairman of TEPC, Sanjay Nayak, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at Tejas Networks, Mr. M Soundarakumar, Director, Centre for Development of Telematics, Bangalore,  Shivendra Singh, Vice President and Head of Global Trade Development at National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), and Mr. Rajesh Tuli, Managing Director of Coral Telecom which is the leading Indian communication solutions provider with significant focus on the defence and next generation communications space.

Other speakers on the Indian delegation are Mr. Rajesh K. Pathak, Director Telecom Centre of Excellence (TCOE) who is also Deputy Director General (International Cooperation) at Department of Telecommunications, as well as Mr. Rakesh K. Bhatnagar, the Director-General of the TEPC, who comes with long standing experience in telecom regulation having been advisor to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), among his many areas of expertise.

The TEPC stated that the  vision of a knowledge based society “is built on an edifice where IT and Telecommunications merge,” adding that “rapid technological convergence has already established a symbiotic relationship between the development strategies of IT and telecommunications. IT flourishes on the telecom-network and in turn permits modern day telecommunications to use sophisticated IT-software.”

The Council says as Africa is among the fastest growing markets worldwide, improving macroeconomic indicators, conducive business environment, larger, younger and more affluent population, rising middle class – all are strong indicators of not only a source of capital but also of job creation, skills development, technology transfer, infrastructure development, responsible governance and most of all – sustained growth that eventually will lead to transformation of African economies!”