As part of efforts to generate creative employment and increase the share of contribution from the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), foremost ICT Company Zinox Technologies, has secured a whopping $25m counterpart funding with which it seeks to roll out a trio of digital hubs in Nigeria.
The digital hubs, one of which has commenced construction in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital will, among other things, create employment and empower thousands of digitally-minded Nigerian youths in search of the right platforms to develop their skills. Same with the one located in Abuja which is nearing completion and all things being equal will become active by early 2017. With the current improvements raising hopes of stability in public power supply by early 2017, the company plans to install the digital plants and commence production shortly.
This much was revealed by Chairman of Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh when the Acting Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Dr. Vincent Olatunji as well as other executives of the agency paid an official working visit to the Zinox headquarters in Gbagada, Lagos .
According to Ekeh, the Nigerian economy is in dire need of an alternative to crude oil – a role which the ICT sector can effortlessly play in boosting the nation’s dwindling earnings. In the view of the Zinox boss, Nigeria has millions of young Nigerians of digital mindset with the potential to become dollar billionaires.
Referencing the case of Nigerian start-up and pioneer composite e-commerce outfit Yudala which received little funding from investors and within one year is a leading e-commerce brand in Nigeria employing over 400 graduates. Ekeh disclosed that their strength is not cash but knowledge of the business backed with strong front and back-end technologies. Ekeh affirmed that thousands of such brilliant kids exist in the country, even as he urged the government to partner with technologically-minded companies in unearthing such raw digital diamonds in the country.
” A simple app developed by a Nigerian which achieves global acceptance could usher such an individual into the league of billionaires while putting the country on the world map.
“I had a similar experience when Zinox acquired an Ibadan-based software company Xputer. The young chaps behind Xputer were so talented and had huge capacity to develop amazing content but no individual, corporate or government saw any potential in them. Some of the apps developed by these young Nigerians are being used today by e-commerce companies in Nigeria which they would have paid millions of dollars for, had it been developed by foreign companies.
“With the digital hubs, we are looking to generate creative employment for our youth while creating the much-needed enabling environment and platform for more of these youths to develop their capacities and unleash their creative abilities. This is part of our contribution towards reducing the scourge of unemployment and boosting the revenue-earning streams of the government.
“We are the last company in the country that will retrench quality Nigerian staff. In fact, our investment in digital hubs will provide jobs for 500 Nigerians, with more expected to benefit from other investments set to commence once the economy stabilizes,” he enthused.
The NITDA DG, who was led on a guided tour of the company by the Zinox Chairman, witnessed first-hand the various infrastructure and facilities within the premises including the digital computer hardware manufacturing and assembly plant, telecoms e-Hub unit, Data Centre, bandwidth aggregation, digital security infrastructures and warehousing facilities as well as integrated after-sales service and support centre, among others.
Speaking during the visit, Dr. Olatunji affirmed the commitment of the agency in partnering with Zinox Technologies in the task of empowering the youth through the provision of requisite capacity-building programmes and initiatives.
Olatunji who expressed delight with the infrastructure and facilities on display at the Zinox headquarters during the tour of the company premises, disclosed that NITDA is keen to empower tech start-ups as a means of promoting opportunities in non-oil sectors, noting that a partnership with Zinox Technologies will go a long way in helping to achieve this aim.
We cannot talk about the ICT sector in Nigeria and indeed in Africa without mentioning Zinox. Zinox has been in the forefront of the digital revolution on the continent and has continued to play a major role. You have shown extreme world class capacity and passion as a leader in the sector and this is why we have come on this visit to restate our commitment towards working with Zinox to achieve our objectives of empowering tech start-ups and boosting the revenue profile of the ICT sector.”
While noting that the government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to supporting local entrepreneurships, particularly in the ICT sector, Dr. Olatunji further solicited the support of Zinox Technologies in partnering with the agency ahead of GITEX 2016 Technology Week slated for October.
Organized by the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), GITEX 2016 will feature local technology start-ups, with NITDA facilitating Nigeria’s participation at three levels including the Nigerian Pavilion, Nigerian Startups cobs inside the Innovation Hub, and the Gitex Africa Investment Forum being co-managed by the NITDA and the DWTC.