Zambia hints at fifth telco operator

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Thursday, Feb 20th

Will Nigeria's IT growth continue under Buhari?

Will Nigeria's IT growth continue under Buhari?

A few weeks ago, Muhamadu Buhari was announced winner of Nigeria's presidential elections. Since this is the first time an incumbent democratically elected president will be handing over to a candidate of the opposition party, there are mixed reactions over the expected change in numerous sectors - especially ICT.

The ICT industry has experienced rapid growth under the administration of Goodluck Jonathan, championed by communication technology minister Omobola Johnson.

Balogun Danjuma, founder of 9jaBookings.com, a startup that was among the finalists of the Tony Elumelu Foundation's Entrepreneurship Programme, described Johnson as Nigeria's highest performing technology minister ever.

"We don't know any other past technology minister and she is among the top five most performing minister in this administration," Danjuma told ITWeb Africa.

He commended the Minister for being readily available and regularly attending events, including through social media.

While he believes Johnson could serve in the incoming government as minister, he advised that if the Buhari-led government would replace her, it should be with someone better, and younger.

He added the successes recorded by Johnson were because the former President allowed her to perform. "I think it is possible for her to work under the APC government since she's not really a strongly political person – she is more of a technocrat than politician. But if APC will change her, it should be with someone that is better. A much younger person should be given that position – someone like Funke Opeke of MainOne or Valentine Obi of eTranzact," Danjuma said.

But Douglas Imaralu, Online Community Manager for Mara Mentors, believe the choice of tech minister will not really have much impact on the growth of the country's tech industry.

He told ITWeb Africa: "The industry will grow, with or without government support. It's only natural. It's the digital age and you need little or no support to start something on the web."

He did suggest that another technocrat should be brought onboard. "I don't have names, but I want to see people who are policy entrepreneurs because we need more IT infrastructure. Broadband is still a myth," he said.

While he admitted the outgoing government tried to start something for startups, he said it "politicised entrepreneurship".

"We need to see more development. Get down to the roots. We need development professionals to come into the game. Private sector should come in too. If a startup is viable, people will invest," he said.

He also told ITWeb Africa that the incoming government should strive to make the country a tax haven for venture capitalists and startups.

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