The ICT sector of Nigeria has been allowed to grow without any form of government interference. It has been able to not only grow but added to the list of African top three countries for ICT solution, alongside South Africa and Kenya.
Nigerians are seen by the world as innovative, creative, and technical, which is why it was able to attract over $40 billion in 2018 as foreign direct investment, according to Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC).
The Nigeria ICT Sector is on an exponential growth scale due to the entrepreneurial spirit that is embodied in a typical Nigeria. Not minding the challenge and obstacle that they may encounter, they are willing and bold enough to dismantle. Our ability to have world competing startups in like flutterwave, paystack which was recently acquired by strife in the financial technology industry, farmcrowdy in the agric technology industry, and the likes of ViClass in the education technology industry is proof that the Nigeria ICT Sector can be a major contributor in the world ICT solution.
Even though as a nation without the necessary infrastructure and conducive environment, our startups have achieved this far, what then will be our position in the line of ICT destination countries if the government can put the best infrastructure and make the environment enabling.
Nigeria has seen an extensive inflow of foreign direct investment in the Nigeria ICT sector, unfortunately, as a country, they are not benefiting from the best of the inflow because some of the startup seeding capital investors will not fund your startups if the parent company is not in the US. Thereby making Nigeria innovators register their startup company in the US and making it the parent company. This invariably means that the parent company which will be incorporated in the US will be the headquarters of the startup and the question of which country takes home the company income tax becomes a thing of deliberation. Meanwhile, the innovators and developers are Nigerians but the funds is not from Nigeria. This is to tell you how important funding Nigeria startup means to foreign investors and what Nigeria as a country is losing when its startups are unable to generate funds locally.
While it may look as though Nigerians are doing considerably well compare to other African countries, there is a whole lot to cover to become “Destination ICT”. “Destination ICT” is a phrase I personally love to call a place or an environment where you can get every ICT solution is possible. Nigeria can make its ICT sector so attractive that it will become a tourism destination for ICT solutions, but to achieve this, it must not concentrate on software development only. Nigeria has grown extensively and exclusively in the software development industry of the ICT Sector. Beyond software development which covers mobile application, & web application, we have not been able to showcase our expertise in other aspects of ICT such as IT Services, IT Infrastructure, & cloud applications which is also a part of software development.
We may have cloud application developers but maybe they have not been opportune to put their solution in the global platform that will make them competitive. Another possibility is the lack of funds to develop their solution for the global market. One thing I know is that Nigeria does not lack human capital or ideology to bring any ICT solution to manifestation but we may lack the funds because cloud application development can be very expensive and this is where the government can step in. Cloud application development ranges from Software as a service (SaaS), to Platform as a service (PaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
Outside the cloud application, there is another industry in ICT sector we must tap-in to make waves as Destination ICT and it is the IT Service Industry. IT Service has been repackaged as IT as a Service for most firms who offer this type of services. It is an operational model that offers the delivery and management of ICT services for and on behalf of clients via the term outsourcing.
Most international companies and corporations have aligned and some are still aligning with the concept of outsourcing an aspect of their IT services to an IT service delivery firm. Some types of outsourced services are IT Security, Network Operations & Management, Data Entry, IT User Support, and IT Customer Support, etc.
Outsourcing some of these operational services takes the burden of service delivery off the company and put it on a professional BPO company. The result has shown the efficiency of overall service delivery for the company outsourcing and also an effective model to cut cost.
At the moment India and Philippine tops list of outsourcing companies, which means that they are the destination for most Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). While Africa does not have a say at the moment in the BPO industry, Nigeria can capitalize on its cheap labour and the efficiency of the IT professionals to become a real destination for Business Process Outsourcing with an extensive focus on IT Services.
Revolutionizing the Nigeria ICT Sector is the institutionalization of the Nigeria IT Service Industry for global competition; making broadband connectivity broadly accessible for ICT research which will give birth to IT infrastructural and software development; And building the next generation of IT professionals.