Mr. Austin Okere, The founder and Chief Executive Officer, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG Plc) has called on stakeholders in the private and public sector of the economy to contribute their quota towards ensuring that the Nigerian Education Research Network (NgREN) is not allowed to rot away as a white elephant project.
He made this known at the recent Computer Warehouse Group Plc Closing Gong Ceremony held on the trading floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) building in Lagos.
According to Mr. Okere, “NgREN is a research network platform built by a consortium of indigenous technology companies. It aims at making affordable broadband available to Nigerian universities and their communities as well as serve as a collaborative network that will allow for knowledge sharing and research collaboration. The first phase of the project which was launched in 2013 connected 27 universities and about 1 million staff members, faculty and students.”
He noted that the survival of the NgREN has been threatened by the failure of the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) to pay for its annual bandwidth fees. According to Mr. Okere, “the World Bank and the Federal Government had financed the project and it received international acclaim at the 2014 World Economic Forum summit in Tianjin, China. We do not think that it should be allowed to die on the account of such a small need especially when we consider its impact on our educational system and the society at large.”
Reacting, Mr. Ade Bajomo, Executive Director, Market Operations and Technology of the NSE, observed that the NgREN is a potential catalyst both for the growth of the tertiary education system in Nigeria and the growth of the nation’s economy as a whole. According to him, “the project is of peculiar interest to us because it can stimulate tremendous growth in the ecosystem. We cannot let it die just like that. The NSE, as an organization, will push for the revival of this initiative because technology is the future.”
As part of the event, Mr. Okere led a team of the company directors, Mr. Kunle Ayodeji, Executive Director, Finance & Operation, Mr. Phillip Obioha, Chief Operating Officer and Mr. James Agada, Chief Technology Officer, to the trading floor of the NSE to hit the closing gong to signify the close of trading for the day. The closing is the first by the management of the company after listing its shares on the stock market in 2013.
Addressing the brokers, Mr. Okere noted that the company has undergone a number of fundamental changes in line with global realities. According to him, “in line with the new shared economy, CWG Plc is moving from providing IT solutions to the big players in the industry to providing platform services through the cloud to SMEs so as to help them scale their numerous limitations and spur innovation and inclusive growth.
“These include SMERP, a cloud based enterprise resource planning that will allow SMEs keep their records and have access to loans from banks. Another is Diamond Yello Account, our mobile banking solution that will allow mobile phone users on
MTN network open and operate a bank account. As we speak, there are over 6 million people on the Diamond Yello Account platform”, he said.
Recall that CWG Plc listed on the stock market as the first listing on the exchange after the launch of the X-Gen trading engine with CWG Plc being the highest capitalized security in the ICT sector of the exchange.