Akwa Ibom driving digital economy for national development—Ukpeh

Akwa Ibom driving digital economy for national development—Ukpeh

Akwa Ibom is silently leading an economic revolution in Nigeria leveraging on digital technology. This was the submission of the Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Committee on Foreign Direct Investment Commission, Gabriel Ukpeh.

Ukpeh said this during the 3rd Annual Nigeria Tech Summit held in Abuja recently.

According to him, Akwa Ibom State is an emerging technology and innovation hub, with a planned Science Park, emphasis on IT and related subjects in educational curriculum, and several tech and innovation hubs employing thousands of young people, etc.

The Nigeria Tech Summit is an initiative hosted by the Global Startup Ecosystem in partnership with US Embassy of Abuja, Nigeria, Google Cloud, AWS, IBM Cloud, Hubspot, Sendgrid and others. The summit boasts of active network of Nigeria’s investors, tech entrepreneurs, celebrities, politicians and business moguls. Each year the programme gathers thousands of pioneers across Nigeria and around the world to address challenges that affect Nigeria’s future.

Spotlight speakers at the summit included, United States Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard, Director, Diaspora Affairs at Office of the President, Akwasi Awua Ababio, CEO at Global Startup Ecosystem, Christine Ntim and a host of others.

Ukpeh said that the experience of COVID-19 has made it mandatory to enhance online connectivity and remote working facilities right across the globe. “A good example is this programme; the numbers joining online outstrips the participants physically here. The backbone to this is broadband connectivity. With the recent auctioning of 5G technology in Nigeria, the shape of the industry will change”.

Speaking on the investment opportunities in the Tech Space, Ukpeh harped on the digital infrastructural development going on in Akwa Ibom State, saying further that Akwa Ibom state government is working assiduously to ensure that an undersea cable lands on its shores in the next 12 to 24 months.

“The speed will be 20 times faster than the current fastest undersea cable in Nigeria, and related data will be 10 times cheaper than the current cost of data. The state government is also working to ensure that a world class data center is established in Akwa Ibom”.

On the reason that makes Akwa Ibom state the most conducive destination for investment, Ukpeh said that the state has the longest shoreline in the country at 129 km, and this is a major requirement to land an undersea cable. In addition, Akwa Ibom state has the largest reserves of crude oil and gas in the country, and thermal power plants can be built to supply the electricity needed to power the data centers.

Finally, he said that data centers and indeed, other manufacturing businesses are best sited in import duty cum tax free locations – Akwa Ibom state has the largest free trade zones in the country at 64,000 hectares. Import duties and company taxes are nonexistent, and sales are billed and collected in foreign currency”.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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