Innovation, Entrepreneurship And Diversification Can Improve Nigeria’s Economy---Intel Boss

By Bukonla Kukoyi

Leading Innovation and Technology giant, Intel has restated its commitment to providing innovative technologies, partnerships, and investments through Intel Capital, and cutting edge products that enable innovative companies and entrepreneurs leap frog the infrastructural deficit and drive growth.

The Regional Director for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa, Intel Corporation, Cigdem Ertem gave the assurance while speaking at the Economist Summit in Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos recently.

According to her, with Nigeria facing a new reality of lower oil prices, and structural forces undermining growth; Technology, more than ever is now a lever that will help transform and diversify the economy.

“Intel focuses on supporting technology enabled industries and drivers of economic growth like Education, Finance & Banking, Manufacturing and the Professional Services,” she said.

Studies by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) show that approx. 96% of Nigerian businesses are SMEs compared to 53% in the US and 65% in Europe. However SME’s contribute approx. 1% of Nigerian’s GDP, compared to 40% in Asian countries and 50% in the US or Europe.

Addressing the statistics, Ertem noted that the low level of contribution can be attributed to several constraints, including lack of funding, infrastructure, and low level of productivity; all of which can be bridged through technology.

”At Intel, we do more than power a PC, we empower and enable youth, and women in Nigeria and around the world to become a viable part of the global knowledge economy by providing support for them to develop relevant technology skills that will increase their opportunities in the market, and help them thrive as entrepreneurs, through programs like Intel She Will Connect, Intel Teach, and Intel Capital”.

Intel Capital continues to invest in innovative technology start-ups and companies in Africa, since 1991 Intel Capital and has invested over $1.2 billion, while Intel Teach and She Will Connect have trained over 150,000 teachers and 35,000 young girls and women in Nigeria respectively, in partnership with NGO’s, Government and Intel’s business partners.

Other speakers at the summit include Aliko Dangote, CEO Dangote Group; HE Okechukwu Enelamah, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment; and Adebola Williams of Red Media.