Bringing you a short tidbit from Day 2 at the ICTD 2012 conference in Atlanta.
Today was largely based around 2 plenary sessions (rather than break-out sessions like yesterday). We also had the honor to hear from Honorable Minister Omobola Johnson from the Nigerian Ministry of Communications Technology.
One of the most interesting talks today for iHub Research was given by one of the main developers of the Open Data Kit software, Yaw Anokwa. Yaw spoke on ODK Clinic and the design of a phone-based clinical decisions support system. In a conference where many are sharing stories highlighting that ICTs are not necessarily the magic bullet for development issues, Yaw shared an example where technology did
help to improve an existing system. Yaw shared his optimism with the group about the opportunities for ICTs to assist in enhancing already existing systems.
Keynote speaker, Omobola Johnson spoke on how the Nigerian government is trying to leverage ICTs for development. Johnson spoke on how Nigeria is currently experiencing “selective development” with rural areas often excluded from development initiatives. She listed the ministry’s 7 areas of focus, which are:
- Cost reduction
- Enhancing ICT infrastructure
- Equitable access to infrastructure
- Citizen engagement
- Strong support for education, health, agriculture, etc.
- Skills development to sustain industry
- ICT entrepreneurship and innovation
Ms. Johnson also stated that Nigeria is looking to extend broadband to all tertiary institutions in next 2-3 years, as well as develop an ICT Innovation fund for entrepreneurs to tap. She finally expressed her interest in developing ICT hubs around Nigeria and excitement in learning from people who have done it before, like the iHub. "Build it and make sure they come,” she said, explaining how governments should engage with citizenry since "in the past we worked in silos.” She also mentioned some of the exciting work being done by CC Hubs such as http://yourbudgit.com/
Ms. Johnson ended by expressing her desire for more research to be conducted in Nigeria that can help them to formulate their Nigerian e-government and ICT strategy.