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African Leaders Must See ICT as a Binding Obligation to Promote Local Content -Iyaji


SunDimension Limited, a fintech solution-proffering firm in Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja, has developed cutting-edge softwares and Applications that have enhanced administrative and financial operations of MSMEs and a number of government parastatals among others.
Its CEO, Alex Iyaji, in an exclusive interview with The Commerce Africa’s Staff Writer, Abdulsalam Mahmud, emphasised that ICT is key to economic development therefore, African leaders must see ICT as a binding obligation to promote local content. Experts:

The Commerce Africa: First, let’s get to meet you, Sir?

My name is Alex Iyaji. I am 2012 Fellow of the Institute of Venture Design, which is an affiliate of Centre for Design and Research, Stanford University, in United Kingdom. I am a technology expert and also a mathematician with experience in Enterprise Software Solutions, Electronic Payment Solutions, Data Analysis, Mobile Application Development and Technology Training.
I started this career about 14 years ago from the banking industry. I first worked in a bank for 9 years before serving on a management team of a private tech company for another four years. In March 1, 2018, I was opportuned, by the grace of God, to establish my own technology company called SunDimension (SD). At SD, we provide technology solutions that meet every day needs of private and public corporates in Africa.

The Commerce Africa: What is the capital structure of SunDimension Ltd?

The strategy is that, you have to dream big in order to start. Moreover, we started small, with hard work to ensure that we get to where we desire to be within a time frame. Every great company once started on a small scale. We started small and yet to get big investors. However, we are doing well in the tech market.

The Commerce Africa: What feats have you achieved vis-à-vis client acquisition, net capital growth and human capital?

We have achieved a lot. The most interesting thing is that, we focus on our customers a lot. You may be tempted to know how we get clients. One of the ways is prompt response to customers’ needs and enquiries. We make sure that customers’ needs are met, and we also follow-up to know work efficiency of any solution we develop for clients. Because our clients get impeccable value for their money, they bring us money and connect us to several other entities and individuals who need our services. we are customer friendly.
In terms of skill and human capital to develop softwares and Apps, we are excellent. We have developed an eighty-one moddles Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Some of the modules in ERP include procurement, accounting, human rights, and other sections. We are presently developing road transport facilitation App similar to Uber. We have also developed a software for cooperative societies which allows members to make contribution easily and track amount of money contributed or invested at the end of financial year. We equally have the loan App which is used to facilitate loan collection and determining of the interest accruing to any particular loan, among other things.

The Commerce Africa: How efficient are the Apps you have developed so far?

They are super-efficient. We don’t just develop Apps for customers and turn our back, we also monitor the efficiency of the Apps. If there is any challenge and a customer mailed or call us, immediately we send our team to the rescue. And that is why we have an effective and functional customer service.

The Commerce Africa: Do you have branches across the entire country, aside Abuja?

For now, we don’t have branches as we are still growing. So, we are only stationed in Abuja.

Yusuf Issa | The Commerce Africa

The Commerce Africa: As a software developer, can you give an insight into African market potential?

In Africa, technology is one of the most promising and fastest growing industries. African technology market has a potential of 50 billion US dollars annually. However, several ICT talents in Africa have not been given the opportunity to maximise their potentials.
At SunDimension, one of our key employees are NYSC corps members because these are very young minds that are just discharged from tertiary institutions to the job market. Contemporary employers would not employ unskilled persons. So, SD will give you the opportunity and privilege to come in fresh from the university and we take you through a month training in our tech school called Sun Academy. We train the corps members in just one month in order to be skilled and meet up with the market demands.

The Commerce Africa: Africa is endowed with ICT wizards who invent machines and softwares. Yet, the continent has not attained remarkable technological growth. What is the problem?

The problem lies in selfishness of a number of Africans. Yes, we are endowed but how many of us are willing to transfer or share the knowledge with others? Part of the reason is brain drain. We have gifted minds but the environment is not enabling for them so they leave for somewhere else. Then, we also have the issue of poor financial support and funding on the part of the government. Also, there is the issue of poor or obsolete ICT infrastructure, mostly in the public sector. So, it is important that the government realize the importance of technology to national development and begin to fund it massively. They should put in place the essential ICT facilities in schools in order to groom and impart ICT skills to young and creative minds. It is imperative that the government believes that technology can work in the country. As such, they need to work on developing ICT infrastructure in schools in order to ensure that the envisaged technological revolution starts from the young minds.

The Commerce Africa: Nigerian government is planning to train about 95% of her citizens on ICT in the next 10 years. What is your reaction to that?

We have heard several of such of announcements. I don’t have any problem with laudable agenda. My concern is lack of implementation. Let us see action, if you say you want to train 10,000 youths. Start the training from the schools. You cannot go to the street and drag someone, telling him or her that you want to teach them computer. So, what is expected is to go to primary schools first. Introduce the pupils to computer and let them know that there is more to learn about computers. In secondary schools, have a curriculum where you have practical sessions. And by the time they get to the university they would have been versatile and skilled in using the computer. Meanwhile, there is need for the government to show seriousness in its intention to train a number of youths on ICT otherwise, many people will be skeptical of their grand vision.

The Commerce Africa: What is your frank assessment of Nigeria’s ICT industry vis-à-vis government policy and market trends?

Well, the industry is still young. Founders and CEOs are trying to organize and maximize the potentials in the industry but the government must also ensure to provide an enabling environment for ICT and technology firms to thrive. In that regard, there is need for the government to provide grants for emerging tech firms and their CEOs because most of them have brilliant visions but the funds to turn their dreams to tangible results are lacking.

The Commerce Africa: How can we maximize the potentials of this all-important and lucrative industry?

African leaders must see ICT as a binding obligation to promote local content. Anything African-made should be owned, supported and marketed to the global community. In addition, African leaders should accord priority attention to ICT development and growth. As such, it behooves them to substantially fund the ICT sector and tech industry of their respective countries.


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