Nigeria’s Ministry of Communication and Technology and IBM have partnered together to fix key problems in Nigeria’s growing economy.
Specifically, they hope to improve Nigeria’s capacity to provide clean water and sanitation, financial services, and reliable energy. Nigeria and IBM also hope to improve the country’s transportation and healthcare systems.
To launch the new partnership the Ministry of Communication and Technology organized a round table between key government officials and senior IBM leadership. They will discuss the process necessary for facilitating the adoption of technological solutions to the government’s key problems.
IBM’s chairman and CEO Virginia Rometty emphasized IBM’s historic ties to Africa and stressed that IBM had the proper capacity to help e-commerce and e-government initiatives in Nigeria.
Such efforts by private companies reflect a trend in Nigeria, where foreign direct investment remains high at 24% as of 2013. Growth in Nigeria also remains high, as its economy expanded 6.5% in 2013 and projects to gain another 6.75% this year.
Companies such as Moet & Chandon champagne, Porsche and Ermenegildo Zegna have rushed to Nigeria in order to capitalize on its economic success. Nigeria may soon take over South Africa’s post as Africa’s largest economy.
Yet, despite the growth and surge in investment, poverty remains high in Nigeria. In 2013, poverty remains at a shockingly high 46%. Infrastructure in Nigeria also lags far behind.
Nigeria’s electricity sector can only produce enough power to work one vacuum cleaner per 25 inhabitants. Additionally, low access to education and high unemployment rates has allowed Islamist radicals to gain a foothold in the country.
The low quality of life and high interests of investors provides an opportunity for Nigeria. Taking advantage of the many resources and enthusiasm provided by strong multinational corporations such as IBM should give Nigeria the push it needs to continue its economic growth and raise millions of its people out of poverty.
– Martin Levy