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Institute’s Boss Appeals For More Government Investment In ICT Skills

The Administrator of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Nigeria’s foremost ICT capacity building institute, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, has appealed to governments at all levels to invest more in the development of ICT knowledge and skill.

According to the boss of the DBI, which is an arm of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), investing more in the ICT capacity building, is the only way the country will maximize its investments in ICT infrastructure.

Speaking during a brief engagement with journalists in Abuja at the weekend, Dr. Ikechuchwu made it clear that without much investment in skills and training, the nation cannot optimally harness the possibilities and potentials that are inherent in the deployment of infrastructure across the country.

He noted that so far, emphasis has been on funding of ICT hardware procurement, without much attention paid to ICT funding that should be spread across hardware, software and skills acquisition.

“There are two ways to funding ICT: infrastructure side and soft side (skills and knowledge). On the hard side which is the infrastructure side, it is easy to perceive the investment that is being made and often times that’s what the government talks about (buying computers, equipment, installing gadgets etc.), but the most important part is the skills and the knowledge that people need to harness the potential in those hardware investments.

“We had made a case sometime in 2016 at the capacity building symposium organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that the investments in USPF (universal service provision fund) across Africa instead of being channelled wholly and exclusively to ICT infrastructure should be dedicated to ICT skills development, in that if someone is investing $10million in ICT infrastructure, 10 per cent of the money should go for ICT skills development especially targeted at the youths now commonly called the millennials.

“They are the ones who will use the infrastructure to innovate, create and develop the things that will make the future happen, but as long as we don’t make that investment then it means that you’ll put a piece of ICT equipment in an office and nobody is using it because the skills are not there.

“A typical phone, for example, can do a lot for us but because the knowledge of the use of the phone is not available, meanwhile we’ve invested a lot of money buying this device, we limit ourselves to just making calls and sending text messages.” [myad]