ISPON SEEKS $100BN DIGITAL MARSHALL PLAN FOR AFRICA
By EMEKA AGINAM
With its recent International Arch of Europe award based on ISO QC100 standard, the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, (ISPON) has called on the United Nations to as a matter of urgency establish a $100 billion digital marshal plan fund' (DMPF) for the current and emerging Africa digital disaster (ADD).
The President of ISPON, Chris Uwaje who made this declaration last Monday in Lagos while speaking to IT Journalists on its its recent international award noted that the fund if established would help Africa countries to bridge digital divide.
Similarly, he said Nigeria can within the next three years earn about $10billion in foreign exchange annually from the software industry.
Meanwhile, the Arch of Europe Award was conferred on ISPON on merit, as the 'Advocate and Champion of professional Software Entrepreneur and Industry in Nigeria, ECOWAS and Africa.'
By wining the award, Nigeria developed software is now at the International level having received the much awaited international recognition from the International Arch of Europe quality award. The award , according to him, was conferred and presented to the ISPON President, by Jose E. Prieto - President and CEO of Business Initiative Directions (B.I.D) Europe, after the recommendation of the BID election committee made up of participants from 90 Countries of the world.
72 countries received the BID award in various categories in Frankfurt, Germany late late last month. In his response speech after receiving the Award in Frankfurt, the ISPON President, Chris Uwaje said: 'All Dreams are possible and can be actualized, if we have the will! today, Nigeria developed Software has demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt, that it has all what it takes to engage global competitiveness in the Information Technology domain of the knowledge society.
While dedicating the award to the innovative African youths in the IT/Software domain, ISPON President called on the Nigerian government to establish software regulation. According to him, there was need to establish a national software development policy, master plan and awareness agenda.
'Therefore, is also against the backdrop that building software capacities presents immense economic opportunities for nation building. Suffice to state that Nigeria can - within the next three years - earn about $10billion USD in foreign exchange annually from the software industry.
' IT-propelled Software is perhaps the most critical and success factor for 21st century global and national development otherwise known as the New (knowledge) economy. And may remain - for a long time - the inevitable engine room for all future development' he said.
The Oracle of the Nigerian IT industry without mincing said that ISPON was deeply concerned that the critical and strategic importance of Software for national survivability in the 21st century, has not been fully understood by the Nigerian leadership.
'This situation must change, because neither the 20 -2020 vision nor the transformation agenda can be effectively delivered and sustained without the infusion and diffusion of Software capability and capacities' he added.
Unregulated software application
He warned that in addressing the challenges and impact of ICT based software, there was need to recognize and emphasize that there is an acute danger in blindly allowing the unregulated and wholesale deployment of foreign application software in key, critical and sensitive areas of the national economy especially in Federal Government functions/operations domain to foreigners.
'This release aims to examine the challenges, certification and quality issues in the IT Software Sector with a focus on the fundamental need to foster and promote the establishment of a National Software Development Policy' he said.
The need to establish a national software development policy, master plan and awareness agenda therefore, is also against the backdrop that building software capacities presents immense economic opportunities for nation building.
Suffice to state that Nigeria can - within the next three years - earn about $10billion USD in foreign exchange annually from the software industry. IT-propelled Software is perhaps the most critical and success factor for 21st century global and national development - otherwise known as the New (knowledge) economy. And may remain - for a long time - the inevitable engine room for all future development.
According to Uwaje, Nigeria can in collaboration with her Science and Technology Diaspora knowledge base build large software development entities and factories and consequently reduce the nation's unemployment index by creating abundant employment of about 10 millions Nigeria youths - who currently harbor uncountable Software factories in their heads waiting to explode and be converted into national wealth - but currently wasting away and forced to sell nothing but pure water!.
'Nigerian indigenous software urgently needs a Constructive Intervention Bailout (CIB) before it is too late. A simple National Software Development policy and conscious IT legislation (Acts of the National Assembly) can turn the Nation's Software fortune around.
'The time to act is now. Our universities need software strategic plans and a robust Campus Intranet Infrastructure Backbone to engage in the knowledge Olympiad. However, before we forget. New knowledge must precede new technological products and the supercomputer of today will become the everyday nano-computer of tomorrow', he explained.
According to him, there was need t establish a national software development policy, master plan and awareness agenda. He said that it was against the backdrop that building software capacities presents immense economic opportunities for nation building.