CBN challenges IT experts to use African-made infrastructure, systems in their operations

Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Ade Shonubi has challenged African Information Technology experts to find ways of creating the necessary opportunity and investments for the manufacture and usage of the infrastructure and systems made in Africa for Africa in their operations.

That way, the IT experts who are today the backbone of many organisations, will largely be contributing directly to the increase in GDP, have more security over their information and play more roles in creating necessary employment.

The apex bank deputy governor who spoke last weekend in a summit on the digital transformation of economies organised by CIO Club Africa and Edniesal Consulting limited was however aware of humongous investment needed in that space but said partnership for such infrastructure manufacturing in Africa can start from the basics.

He cited the technology around payment systems in Nigeria saying the technology was built in Nigeria, by Nigerians. “So we do have the capacity to do this thing. There is an excuse to always say we are waiting for someone to put infrastructure in place. We have basic infrastructure that we can improve upon, to make things better”, he said.

Shonubi also cited India that has a deliberate strategy to use its technical competence it built at home noting that it was a conscious effort and it has contributed to its economic growth and their brand.

He also advised IT experts to train students on areas of future needs. “We should influence the curriculum so that it is relevant for the future and not just catching up with the present.”

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According to him, economic transformation must touch people and must make us more productive as a country. He said if automation reduces job of 10 people to one person and the software is paid for in excess of cost of 8 people, the other people must be engaged to be productive, it about adding value, he said.

The IT experts including Chief Information officers, Chief Technical Officers, Chief digital officers, chief information security officers, managing directors, Country Managers, Chief Executive Officers of various organisations and high-profile government personnel were in attendance to discuss how to leap frog African economies through digitalisation

In his paper, the CEO of NIBSS Premier Oiwoh cited the introduction of mechanised farming, electricity, computers and internet to underscore the positive effect of technology on the world economy which in some instances increased GDP.

But he regretted that the ability to access technology services in Africa is a big problem. Oiwoh who buttressed this by noting that price of cheapest smartphone is about $52 which is about 63 percent of the minimum wage in Nigeria compared to .4 percent of the minimum wage in US and average price of 1GB cellular data is about $0.88 which is 2 percent of minimum wage in Nigeria compared to 0. 07 percent of the minimum wage in the US.

He therefore challenged the IT experts to find ways of bridging digital divide. On other ways to bridge the divide, he said fintech funding is next frontier for digital transformation saying the rise in Fintech is creating new dynamics in closing the digital divide. Other ways include remittances, digital payments, asset management and credit score and analytics

Speaking earlier, Oluwakayode Adigun, chairman of Edniesal Consulting limited said transformation is very key at this time in the life of Nigeria and Africa as a continent.

“For us to make a mark on the world economic map the only thing we can do is to transform speedily and rapidly for efficiency and the only way to achieve that is through digitalisation. We cannot continue to do things with analogue and expect to catch up with the rest of the world”.