Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has expressed concern that Africa, particularly Nigeria, has not been able to produce its own giant technology firms despite its abundant human resources and creative youth population.
Osinbajo expressed the worry in an address delivered at the opening of the Digital Africa Conference and Exhibition in Abuja last week.
The acting President, who was represented at the event by the Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, said Africa did not participate in the first three industrial revolutions witnessed by the world and should not miss out on the fourth industrial revolution that is around the corner.
He said, “It is a concern that in Africa, particularly our country Nigeria, with such a teeming population blessed with sound minds and innovative youths, there is not one organisation that can be compared to the standard of Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Facebook, HP and other renowned IT firms.
“The next phase of development is around the corner, as we are witnessing the influx of various technologies that is predicted to cause exponential disruption on the magnitude greater than the first, second and third industrial revolutions combined.
“This era is described by many as the fourth industrial revolution. This is characterised by the introduction of various technologies such as virtual/augmented realities, nanotechnologies, 3D printing, machine learning, big data, cloud computing, drones, self-driving cars, robotics, artificial intelligence and many more technologies.”
Osinbajo said the recent Executive Order for the patronage of locally-made products was meant to encourage the growth of indigenous companies and brands.
Speaking at the event, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, Dr. Isa Ibrahim, said it was regrettable that several budgets made by some Ministries, Departments and Agencies for procurement of the IT equipment did not really go into the purpose.
According to the Convener, Digital Africa, Dr. Evans Woherem, if Africa does not take advantage of the emerging technologies, it will still be regarded as a peripheral part of the world.