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Software Nigeria - the Software Industry in Nigeria

Software is at the heart of the global knowledge economy. The increasing adoption of ICT enabled tools and technologies further enhance the value of software. Software presents Nigeria with an opportunity to take high up position in the global ICT value chain. The value chain consists of the creators, distributors, resellers and consumers. To make sense of the ICT revolution, forward-thinking countries ensure that they carve out a niche in the high value, creative portions of the value chain. Nigeria is Africa's busiest ICT market because of the trading, importing and consumption in ICT. But these alone are not strengths in the new economy. Software opportunities can unleash the potentials of the Nigerian nation. With its large, youthful, educated and enterprising populace, software provides Nigeria with a unique opportunity.

 

 

The Software niche

In the knowledge economy you get ahead by exploiting identified niche markets such as Software. With the growth in e-business and the pervasive influence of the Internet software/web development is a booming market. The IBM global financing report in 2005 states that software and services form the largest and fastest-growing part of the information technology market. The market for software is far bigger than that of the hardware in Nigeria and globally. In recognition of the importance of software, Nigerian government in conjunction with Nigerian software practitioners developed the Nigerian Software Development Initiative (NSDI). NSDI website states, "The Nigeria Software Development Initiative (NSDI) is a presidential initiative on the development of the Nigerian software industry which is born out of the realization that the nation has abundant intellectual capital whose genius and creativity in software development could help jump-start Nigeria's participation in the booming global software industry".

 

Software is required for the effective use of ICT - in PCs, handhelds, mobile phones, the Internet, GSM, wireless telephony, network devices, telecom equipment, etc. Nigeria's local software industry needs to grow and be involved to make the required impact. In Nigeria, System software - operating systems, network software, development tools - is 100% imported. Same story for packaged applications (word processing and spreadsheets). This isn't too unusual - in other countries, most System software and packaged applications in use are those manufactured by global industry leaders, e.g. Oracle, Microsoft, etc for reasons of support, manufacturer's Research & Development (R&D) investment and compatibility.

 

Growth comes from within

The most obvious opportunities for the local software industry therefore are the specialized application development markets - producing software for accounting, legal, banking, financial services, personnel, payroll, information management, games, etc.  There are several local software providers doing well but as a whole the software industry needs to move faster than it is doing at present. To move Nigerian into its right place in the value chain, the challenges faced by the local software industry must be addressed. A large proportion of Nigeria's software business is in the hands of firms based outside Nigeria. Local developers are losing out to ignorance and foreign software providers. Most Nigerian businesses, especially the small businesses, don't invest in specialized software, for them the packaged / office applications are as far as it goes. Awareness is low about the benefits of software. And for most of the large corporate organizations that invest in niche software, foreign software is regarded as the better option.

The strength of the ICT industry comes from the internals. How can software be seen as a viable career option in the absence of thriving local software businesses? A strong local software industry will in addition save foreign exchange - money spent on foreign software goes to foreign organizations, money spent on local software stays within the Nigerian economy. It will provide career and business opportunities for the youth locally and globally in - outsourcing, application and web development.  Nigeria can take a cue from India, a country that has benefited tremendously from Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and software outsourcing 

 

Making Software Nigeria a priority

Because of the opportunities offered by software - Nigeria should aspire to become a global player in the creative high value end of ICT - the software industry must be treated as national priority. As one of the NSDI objectives states, there is a need to "To accelerate the process of creating an enabling environment for the sustainable growth of the software industry". With software,

The interest and demand of the local market for software products and services needs to be increased - to stimulate the market, to strengthen and support the software industry. Government should work with, Software providers in Nigeria, NSDI, the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) to create greater awareness of the benefits of software. Local and global (software export) opportunities should be highlighted.

 

A Supportive Environment

Tax incentives should be provided for local software developers. And just like the made-in-Nigeria PCs, government should patronize and give preference to locally developed software. Furthermore, the development of Software technology parks should be encouraged. Such parks would provide developers with constant power supply, security, subsidized office space, IT infrastructure, software education and other incentives.  Early software education for children and up-to-date curricula are particularly important.

Opportunities and strategies in open source should also be explored in for possible cost benefits and local ICT capacity development. Localization of software makes software relevant - the use of local language content promotes digital inclusion for all.  Software localization deepens inclusion when it includes the adaptation of software (translation, design, icons and graphics) to fit a local cultural context and environment. In a world that emphasizes knowledge and creativity, open source should be examined for the promotion of local capacity, legal software usage and development, creativity and localization.

 

For Software Nigeria - the future is here.

 

Jide Awe

Jide Awe is the Publisher of Jidaw.com

 

 

What Do you Have to Say? Post Your Comments about this content resource Here.

Comments

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October 8, 2008

 

Dada Adeolu kayode of Ibadan says:

 

 

Software Awareness and marketing

I believe there should be a forum or organization that can help standardize local software. after which they actively participate in the necessary marketing of such software for the developer.
i believe this kind if initiative would encourage people to be more creative. fo the past 1 year, i've been unemployed and has taken my time to deploy a very good package but yet haven't sold one. 

 

 

September 23, 2008

 

Samuel Omolola Edema of Lagos says:

 

 

I know we are moving slowly but steadily too... we will get there. We are a new ICT programme on TV. We will promote any Nigerian software developer. 

 

 

February 6, 2008

 

Agoye Olorunfemi from

Akure, Ondo State Nigeria says:

 

 

We can get there!!!

Interesting write up. I believe if we can collectively stand up to the occasion, the breakthrough in the software world is definite in Nigeria. Relevant bodies should provide opportunity for software development to grow in Nigeria. We can get there. Keep it up!

 

 

November 8, 2007

 

Ibukun Adeagbo from

Lagos says:

 

 

It's a nice article. And I am such a person that have passion for developing software someday. On the other hand, I hope someday Nigerian software developers can come together to work as a team instead of individuals so as to enhance the security of our softwares as it is done in other parts of the world. Keep it up!

 

 

September 23, 2007

 

Augustine Kumbur from Abuja says:

 

 

It's great to have this quality information for me it is a breakthrough in the IT world. Thank you.

 

 

May 8, 2007

Makrand from G-28 city center 452001 India says:

 

 

We are a software solution provider looking ahead to work in Nigeria. The information provided in the article is adequate.  

 

 

Mar 28, 2007

Olanrewaju  from Lagos says:

 

 

LET THE FIRE KEEP BURNING! On your article on software Nigeria you have done a great thing to my aspiration in that respect.Your effort happens to be one of those that are eye opener. Thank you very much.  

 

 

Mar 28, 2007

Godpower Azuonwu from Johannesburg, South Africa says:

 

 

This article came to me at the right time. It's quite encouraging. I am doing some Software Development courses, and has always thought of how to develop made-in-Nigeria software. I beseech the relevant orgs and bodies to create an opportunity for software development to grow in Nigeria.  

 

 

Mar 22, 2007

Ganiy M. from Port Harcourt says:

 

 

We need to take software serious or we will be left behind. Thanks for the warning.  

 

 


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