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Enabling Environment for Nigeria Content Development in the ICT Sector (1)

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This is a word that has been misused to the detriment of overall development of indigenous content. Some years back when car and truck assembly plants were still functional in this country, the then national assembly tasked the plants on the need to improve on the input of local content of the vehicles. I remember clearly a particular company touting that they have achieved over 30% local content input. The company then went to list the items supplied locally as cables, car seats, car paints, etc. The company in a sense is right since they sourced those items locally. But the question that needs to be addressed is whether the components were indigenously manufactured in Nigeria? If the government buys a car assembled in Nigeria, can it rightly say it has bought an indigenously manufactured car?

So we must distinguish between local input (content) and indigenous input.

Content Development

This can be viewed as import substitution when some of the intermediate components that go into the manufacture of a product are now indigenously produced using local resources and technology. Let me clarify this. Most casings of laptop computers and mobile phones are made from the by-product of petrochemical refineries. Nigeria is a major crude oil producing and "refining" country, yet these components are still imported. If the downstream sector of the petroleum industry is developed casing and other similar component will produced indigenously.

Enabling Environment

There are many numerous definitions of the enabling environment and they range from all encompassing to narrow. For the purpose of this paper, I shall look at enabling environment as a set of interrelated conditions – such as legal, bureaucratic, fiscal, informational, political, and cultural – that impact on the capacity of investors to engage in investment processes in a sustained, effective and profitable manner.

Introduction:

We were made to understand that after World War II, products from Japan were ridiculed and denigrated by consumers for its presumed sub-standard quality. British made products were preferred. He said they use to derogatorily call it Japanese product: Fabrique au Japan. But today, Japanese products are very much in demand because it is believed to be of the highest quality. If in doubt, take a look through your window and count the number of Japanese cars out there; or do an audit of the household and consumer electronics in your house. If the Japanese government did not put in place favourable policies and create enabling environment that is favourable to investment, the country’s putative steps into manufacturing could have fizzled out.

The above scenario was recreated with Taiwanese, Korean and Singaporean made goods. Today, these countries are industrial powers, producing products that are competing favourably with, (and even surpassing in quality), products from North America and Europe. China, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, etc, are not far behind. The Asian Tigers are no longer coming; they are at our door steps!

Let’s move half a world away from the Asian Tigers. Nigeria’s Defence Industry Corporation, (DIC) was set up in the early 60s. I understand the Brazilian government following in the footsteps of Nigeria, set up her own equivalent 6 months after Nigeria. Today, the Brazilian own is indigenously manufacturing military hardware such as airplanes, warships, missiles, etc. In fact in the early 80s, many of us present here were eye witnesses to the berthing of Brazilian manufactured submarine at Marina when her Navy paid a visit to Nigeria. Compare this to the feat done by our own DIC. Last year it was announced that Nigerian DIC has started the assembling of AK47 rifles which they ingeniously named OBJ-007. Talk of comparing an airplane with bicycle!

Whither Nigeria? Where lies the problem?

The ICT industry is unique in that we are now in the Information Age with attendant dependence on the Internet for most transactions. Information Societies are emerging changing the ways business is conducted. Under this present scenario, the use of ICT product is pervasive affecting all sectors of a country. Anything that affects the ICT industry affects the entire human society. Any business that refuses to adapt becomes history. This being so, the manufacturers and producers of this business and productivity tool (ICT tool) need to be encouraged to make these tools available to the vast majority of the populace at affordable rate in order to empower the new e-work force. For MDG to be achieved, as many citizens as possible need to be empowered to function optimally in the new Information Society, if Nigeria is to achieve her desire of being among the top 20 economies in the world by the year 2020).

What factors impact Content Development?

From my experience, Nigeria is not an investor friendly country. What is prodding some of us on is the faith that things may get better; that generation unborn will be spared the anomaly that we have experienced; and finally to make a difference in this generation. Business practices in global markets are changing because of international competition and Nigeria has to key into it or risk remaining in the back waters of development. The Nigerian private sector, which consists of small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) and the informal sector, is widely regarded as a potential engine of growth in the information economy. Government favourable policies will provide opportunities for competent ones to increase their markets and trading potential well beyond the Nigerian borders. This will in turn provide capital that will aid research into indigenous inputs and content development.


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Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Rivers State, Shell Inaugurate Cluster Development Board for Assa North Gas Project

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The Rivers State government and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), energy company, recently inaugurated the Egi/Igburu Cluster Development Board (CDB) for pipeline communities to SPDC’s Assa North Gas project, which has a capacity for 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day and the potential to be one of the largest domestic gas projects in Nigeria when completed.

Rivers State, Shell Inaugurate Cluster Development Board for Assa North Gas Project

Barrister Elloka Tasie-Amadi, State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, at the ceremony, urged the Comrade Orikoha Ekwueme-led newly elected officials of the CDB to use the opportunity of leadership to make positive impacts that will improve living standards in their communities.

He said, “The state government is always available to support you. Always speak with your people, including the Community Trust Committees (which were also newly inaugurated). Adequate communication will ensure the buy-in of all your stakeholders”.

He decried those who see leadership as opportunity for self-seeking gains. “Leadership is more of sacrifice; not an opportunity for personal benefit”, The Commissioner said.

Also, at the inauguration, Mr. Igo Weli, SPDC general manager External Relations,  said, “The Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), that you signed today, sets the framework for long-term partnership between SPDC JV and the Egi/Igburu Cluster. The GMoU runs on the principle of community-led development. Today, SPDC JV commits to providing funding to help you realise your community development aspirations.”

Represented at the ceremony by Dr. Banji Adekoya, SPDC External Relations Manager for Projects and Opportunities, he asked the CDB to “be prudent and implement projects and programmes that will deliver maximum benefits to the Egi/Igburu communities. Note that government, SPDC JV and the communities that you represent will hold you accountable for the judicious utilisation of the development funds.”

“With the inauguration, SPDC reiterates the company’s commitment to the Assa North Gas Project and to making it an exemplary one, particularly in Nigeria’s quest for energy sufficiency, for power generation and industrialization”, he said.

On its part, the new CDB committed to use SPDC’s award-winning GMoU agreement, which is a community-led sustainable development and interface management model that puts the communities in the driving seat in setting development priorities and implementation of programmes and projects to meet their needs.

The GMOU is a proven winning approach introduced in 2006, adopted across SPDC’s operational areas and provides a secure five-year funding for communities to implement development projects of their choice.

With the inauguration of the Egi/Igburu CDB, SPDC now has 40 active GMoUs in Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers States. Since 2006, SPDC JV has disbursed a total of $252 million to communities through these GMoUs.

The Assa North/Ohaji South gas project is a joint venture project involving the SPDC, the NNPC, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, and Nigerian Agip Oil Company, and will result in a new SPDC gas processing plant.

The development will help the federal government deliver on its ambition to provide enough gas for domestic consumption, power generation and gas-based ammonia and urea fertilizers for farmers.


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African Entrepreneurs Vying for Anzisha Recognition

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The Anzisha Prize, a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation, has revealed its top 20 finalists for 2020. Winners will be announced at this year’s Anzisha Prize Conference on 27 October 2020.

Organisers say this year’s application season saw a record 1 200 applicants vying for a chance to join the Anzisha Prize fellowship.

From these applications, 20 businesses emerged that were 45% percent female-owned and represented sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and education.

Young entrepreneurs from Morocco, South Africa and Tanzania displayed impressive ventures that are tackling critical issues within their communities while also turning a profit. Through their businesses and entrepreneurial leadership skills, these job starters are paving a way for other young Africans to pursue entrepreneurship.

Selected as a top 20 finalist is 21-year-old Alaa Moatamed who is the co-founder of Presto, a company she describes as one of the leading delivery management platforms in Egypt. The venture provides business owners with an affordable and convenient delivery service for their customers.

Joining Alaa is 20-year-old Benjamin Mushayija Gisa from Rwanda who manufactures and packages natural organic products for consumption and for cosmetic purposes in the form of lotions and coconut soap.

“2020 has seen a global shift in the future of work. This year’s applicants have personified the resilience and innovation that Africa needs as we navigate our way into a post-COVID-19 future,” says Melissa Mbazo-Ekepenyong, Deputy Director of the Anzisha Prize.

The Anzisha Prize, a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation, has supported 122 entrepreneurs and 77 of those businesses have created over 2 000 jobs, with 56% of those being employment provided for young Africans under 25.

Peter Materu, Chief Program Officer, Mastercard Foundation says, “The success of the Anzisha Prize over the last decade stands as a resounding testament to the creativity and entrepreneurial potential of Africa’s very young people—a hugely under-tapped resource.

Through Anzisha, we’re reminded of what they can achieve when challenged and enabled to own and solve the problems they see around them. Now, as ever, the innovations that have emerged through the Anzisha Prize inspire and renew our faith in and commitment to their promise.”

This year, the top 20 will gather virtually from their various countries to share knowledge and learn from expert coaches and mentors as they prepare for their final pitches to a panel of external judges.

All the entrepreneurs will receive a cash prize of US$2 500. The grand prize winner will receive US$25 000, while the 1st runner and 2nd runner receive US$15 000 and US$12 500 respectively.


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FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

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Federal Government has included Emirates Airlines in the list of airlines not allowed to operate in Nigeria.

FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

This is part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation, confirmed this via his Twitter handle on Friday.

According to Sirika, the decision was taken following a meeting between the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and European Unions (EU).

The ban would take effect from Monday, September 21, 2020.

“The PTF sub-committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban.

“The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st September 2020,” Sirika tweeted.


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