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Tuesday, 25 December, 2001, 10:51 GMT
Nigeria's online struggle
Remy Olukoya, BBC
Remy Olukoya: Technology is critical
Nigerian Remy Olukoya, who runs OK Computers Ltd, is setting up six community resource centres as part of a US initiative to bridge Nigeria's digital divide. But as he explains, much has to change before Nigeria can become part of the online world.

Technology is very critical and the moment we start to appreciate this, the better Nigeria will be.

We talk about the information superhighway, the world being a global village.

This means we have to start to do business differently. It means we have to learn how to be competitive.

At the moment, we spend about half the day trying to make sure that those things we need to service our clients are in place.


For those of us in the world of information technology, there is nothing in terms of infrastructure to help promote the business

There's a factor that I call the unforeseen. Maybe the traffic will be so bad and you cannot make an appointment on time.

Maybe the power might go and, in addition, the generator might not function. Or you might not even have diesel.

All of this is taken for granted elsewhere.

Lack of infrastructure

We have to have a back-up generator and that costs a lot. Even when you have it, you have to have the diesel to run it.

The whole idea of ensuring the right infrastructure is there is a challenge.

For those of us in the world of information technology, there is nothing in terms of infrastructure to help promote the business.

I have not seen the government investing anything in ensuring that internet service providers can provide cheap bandwidth.

Unless such a basic thing as this is available, the information technology business in Nigeria cannot develop.

No to patronage

It will take hard work and support from the government, by way of spending more money and resources to ensure the basic infrastructure is in place - constant power, water, good communication - all those things that would help support our business.

We do not need anything more than that. We would then not need government patronage to survive.

Government has no business creating jobs. It has to create the enabling environment and entrepreneurs like myself will create the jobs. The jobs are there.

Tracey Logan of the BBC's Go Digital interviewed Remy Olukoya and you can hear more from the interview on the programme.

See also:

07 Aug 01 | Africa
Mobile use to mushroom in Nigeria
15 Aug 01 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese going mobile crazy
28 Jun 01 | South Asia
India mobile giants merge
28 Aug 01 | Business
Nigeria's digital mobile bonanza
23 Jan 01 | Business
Bridging the digital divide
19 Mar 01 | dot life
Bridging the digital divide
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