By Isaac Aregbesola
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, has stressed the need for Public Private Partnership (PPP) in driving Information Communication Technology (ICT) and development of smart cities in Nigeria.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of Transform Africa Summit 2017 in Kigali, Rwanda, that unless the huge infrastructure deficit in Nigeria was addressed, achieving the Smart Africa Initiative would be difficult.
A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate in ICT and Internet of Things (IoT), technology in a secure fashion to manage a city’s assets.
The minister, who said that Nigeria was engaged in the process of building smart cities, called for private sector investment in the sector to address the infrastructure challenge and achieve the goal.
He said there was need for collaboration between private and public sectors to develop ICT in Nigeria.
He added that “as it was said, there is no one technology that will overcome the challenge of infrastructure.
“What it just requires and I think this is what came out clearly, is partnership among government, the private sector and the academia; and together, the three can begin to put in place the building blocks to have smart cities, including in Nigeria.”
Onyeama said Nigeria succeeded in the communication sector because of Public Private Partnership.
He explained that in the past 20 years, Nigeria was able to engage the private sector to provide phone lines to about 100 million people as against the 400,000 telephone lines that were there to serve 150 million people.
He said that “the coming together of government, the political will and the private sector created the framework for private sector to come with the investment and the difference that was made.
“You had the NCC that had the auction that invited private telecommunication sectors and the result of that today was the over 100 million Nigerians connected on mobile phones.
“So my last word is that Public Private Partnership is really essential in driving ICT