The President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of International Business Machines (IBM), Ms. Virginia Ginny Rometty, said yesterday the company had concluded arrangements to establish two software incubation centres in Lagos and Calabar, by the first quarter of 2014.
Rometty made the disclosure in Abuja while she led the company’s delegation on a courtesy visit to the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson.
She added the centres would help in the overall development of the nation’s human capital development. She said: “We have a long-term commitment to this continent and Nigeria.
“I have actually selected Africa and Nigeria especially to make our focal point for growth in the next decade and we have invested both in people, skills and some of our most precious resources such as innovation and research centres to be on this continent.
“In fact Nigeria is our hub for Africa. So one of our purposes of visiting the minister today is to talk about something called the innovation hub that we shall be opening in the first quarter of 2014 and it will be focused on key industries such as in banking, telecommunications, government, oil and gas solution”
Rometty said she was very optimistic about the future of Africa especially Nigeria in the growth of ICT. “We hope to continue in the way of employer of labour in the country.” She said.
Earlier, Johnson said the present administration was concerned about leveraging what IBM is doing so as to increase the penetration of ICT skills and knowledge in the country. She said: “Our meeting with IBM today is to help accelerate the development of Nigeria as an important hub of global ICT centre. First of all it get more Nigerians into the ICT and also establishing innovation Centres in Calabar and Lagos that will help solve some of the biggest challenges that we have using technology.”
She admitted that Nigeria was going to benefit from the establishment of these centres. “This ICT development and programmes will help accelerate the development of this country. This innovative will really help us to begin to think of innovative ways of how to bring ICT with many of the challenges that we are faced with today. IBM as a big company spends so much on research every year and they are to bring that expertise to support the development of Nigeria.”
On how many Nigerians will be empowered from the innovative centres, Johnson said: “Though we have not set a target in terms of how many people that we are going to empower with these Centres. What we are actually doing is trying to develop ICT skills all around the economy which runs into thousands of numbers that will make impact in the country.
“On a more broader basis we want to give more young Nigerians broader based ICT skills because research has shown that most of the jobs that are going to be created in the country will around ICT services. And so it is important for us to build these skills in their thousands.”