By Technology Times Staff Reporter
Lagos. October 31, 2012: Liyel Imoke, Governor of Cross River State last night said he is focused on fostering sustainable human capacity development in pursuing the Tinapa Knowledge Centre sited in the state to propel Nigeria into a major technology hub on the continent.
Cross River State is embarking on an ambitious plan to transform the expansive Tinapa Resort into a digital knowledge hub dubbed Tinapa Knowledge City and envisioned to be the continent’s frontline technology park.
Under the plan, the State will pipe in massive internet bandwidth, uninterrupted power supply and other infrastructure into the Tinapa to attract software developers and other tech innovators and businesses. The plan is to make the serene resort an innovation hub to foster Nigeria’s leap into the global ICT space.
The Governor, who commissioned TKC last night said this at the closing ceremony of the Institute of Software Professionals of Nigeria (ISPON) National Software Conference and Competition 2012 held on the theme, “The Cloud and The Future of Software Nigeria” at the Tinapa Resort in Calabar, Cross River State.
Citing the examples of Bangalore in India and other countries, the Governor notes that exemplary initiatives takes by nations to leverage technology in their development and economic growth aspirations have often happened after taking meticulous steps rather than by accident.
Imoke, who says that no industry has progressed like the ICT sector, explains that countries that have taken steps to leverage technology to promote their development and economic growth have made sustainable investments in human capacity development.
These nations took decisions about what he calls “the greatest investment, while noting that no investment is “greater than the human being and human mind.”
Addressing the software forum consisting largely of young developers and students drawn from several tertiary institutions, he says the way to go for most sustainable development planning is to invest in the human mind so that they can channel their God-given capacity to the best use for humanity.
Imoke urged the “future Bill Gates” to emulate those that have preceded them while noting that, “no matter how brilliant you are, your talent must be put to use for the benefit of mankind. It is the service to humanity that matters.”
The Cross River State Governor says that with the dynamic pace in global ICT growth, he sees Nigeria on the cusp of key changes driven by opportunities provided by the sector for growth adding that, “for us here today, we see Nigeria on the edge of that revolution.”
He adds that this realization formed the basis for the state government’s partnership with the private sector to build TKC while adding that, “we hope it realises the vision for tomorrow because it is for you.”
Explaining further on the scope of TKC, Odo Effiong, Special Adviser, ICT says that the project is envisioned to provide a purpose –built location in Nigeria with ready infrastructure to serve as ICT hub for Nigeria, West and Central Africa.
With Nigeria’s over 168 million population he says that statistics show that there is “clearly over 43 million work force with capacity to use computers and digital mobile devices and demonstrated capacity to engage the digital realm”
However, with less than 500 registered software companies the nation still has strong software development potentials with lots of individual young people involved at private levels, says Effiong.
According to him, the initiative of Cross River State in promoting TKC is based on identified absence of lack of specific industry cluster for ICT even as software development and other technological services require a cluster location for collaborative work.
Businesses, mmajor corporations and government institutions also have few centralised data centres to serve them the increasing requirement to drive their businesses processes and operations.
He sees TKC filling that void by becoming anideal place to develop an ICT Centre that would serve Nigeria and the world.
According to Effiong, TKC will power the connection between technology people and enterprises that seek their services as it promises a bright tomorrow for youth and entrepreneurs.
“It is the link between innovation and the needs of the market. It is the answer to the challenge of an emerging market. TKC will take the game to a whole new level creating a knowledge and innovation hub for Nigeria, West African, Central African and the larger African markets”, he adds.
To achieve this purpose, TKC occupies a designated area of the Tinapa Resort that is sserene, secure, secluded and purpose-built in the business and leisure resort located north of Calabar in the South Eastern part of Nigeria.
The resort has facilities for retail and wholesale activities as well as leisure and entertainment. For consumers, the resort has 80,000 square metres of lettable space for retail and wholesale made up of four emporiums of 10,000 square metres (110,000 sq ft.) each and smaller shops, warehouses, he told the forum.
Tinapa also includes an entertainment strip contains a digital cinema, children’s arcade and restaurants as well as mini amphitheater, a night club and pubs. There is an artificial tidal lake that feeds from the Calabar River, a water park and parking space for about 4,000 cars.
As part of the plan, Effiong told the software forum that TKC is a tech-conducive environment with its planned uninterrupted and clean electrical energy supply that will be excellent for sensitive equipment.
“Resource geared towards empirical research and development in technology and ancillary fields and digital networks for connecting with other technology people, industry and markets”, are also part of the Centre’s offerings he adds citing that it is an environment geared for explorative and collaborative work.