By Biola Lawal
Ventures Platform Foundation (VPF), an ICT company, has stressed the need for a nationwide internet literacy campaign to help Nigerians tap into its huge economic potential.
Mr Mimshach Obioha, the Director, VPF Programme made the call while answering questions from newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday.
Obioha said that this would enable millions of Nigerians go beyond making calls and messaging to investing in internet to use it for profitable economic ventures.
“We discovered that most online users in the country use the basic messenger and phone call services, while there are other benefits of internet like banking, learning, shopping, trading, healthy living, etc.
“The next gold after oil is human minds, which means that countries with large population like Nigeria have large resources.
“It also means that every person has potential of becoming a complete refinery all by oneself.
“With computer programming and literacy education, one person can actually build an empire.’’
Obioha said that with adequate focus on harnessing human resources in the area of technology, Nigeria “has the potential of producing many Bill Gates and Mark Zukerberg’’.
“It is really important that our country, as a matter of policy, figures out ways to improve and encourage this development,” he said.
NAN reports that VPF in collaboration with Google West Africa and OC & C Consult recently launched a report titled: Tech Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Research –Nigeria.
The report is to help unfold and develop the potential of the technological sector of the economy.
Obioha disclosed that “in the process of gathering data on challenges and prospects of Nigerian technology sector, it was discovered that about 15 million Nigerians go on internet daily.’’
He, however, lamented that “many do not go beyond sending messages and making calls.’’
On the significance of the report, Obioha said it contains key critical components of providing adequate data on prospects and challenges with recommendations on development to global height.
“This can be done through identifying investment in start-ups; creating regulatory frameworks that make it easier to build companies in the country.
“There is need to improve digital skills components in order to catalyse the market, it helps to create more people that can be creators of technology.
“There is a market activation component. This is important for a nation of over 180 million people but not all of them are ready markets for digital products.
“There is also need to ensure that more people have access to internet through affordable means and provision of infrastructures, especially power,” he said.
Similarly, Mrs Titi Akinsanmi, the Head, Public Policy and Government Relations, Google West Africa, said the nation was a potential technology giant if it could fill identified gaps.
“Nigeria has capacity to become giant in technology development because of its huge human capacity and all that is required is to fill existing gaps in its technology development components.”
NAN reports that the report was launched in Abuja recently with the representatives of Federal Ministries of Science and Technology; Trade and Investment in attendance.