Friday, February 19, 2010

Nigeria to manufacture cellphone handsets and hardware

A Nigerian-based company, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT), has announced plans to start producing mobile handsets and computer hardware in less than two years.

Ahmed Rufai, the CEO of the company, who announced this in Abuja, said that the company had completed and commissioned a locally made Printed Circuit Board Micro Electronics Centre, manned by NIGCOMSAT engineers.

According to him, the centre would focus mainly on the production of printed circuit boards- which is the basis for electronic systems – for computers and handsets, adding that it will have diverse implications on the electronics industry.

“Imagine if all the basic electronics we use are produced in Nigeria. Everything you are holding today is imported. But our projection is that in less than two years, we will have standard handsets produced locally.

“We are also talking to some local computer assembly companies to use our mother boards produced here”, he said.

Currently, said Rufai, the centre has the capacity to produce 500 handsets a day and can also produce good quality motherboards for computers. He added that within the next two years they will be able to perfect the products, adding: “What we have here is the prototype. We just want to show the concept and prove that it can be done.”

He said that NIGCOMSAT engineers have been trained to produce these boards, utilising the best international standard to bridge the gap in the ICT industry in Nigeria and Africa at large.

He also said that the technology is a spin off from the Know-How Technology Transfer and Training of over 100 Nigerian engineers in China, UK, US and the United Arab Emirates.

“It therefore affords these talented engineers the opportunity to look at this aspect of engineering, which is rare on this continent”, he said.

The NIGCOMSAT CEO explained that this technological intervention is crucial to the achievement of Nigeria’s vision to be amongst the top 20 economies of the world in the year 2020, and the realization of the present administration’s seven-point agenda, since technology is the driver of every economy.

Furthermore, he said the revenue prospects for printed circuit boards is high, as China has an annual production capacity of six million valued at $80billion (N12trillion), which if replicated in Nigeria will have a great impact on the socio-economic life of the nation.

“It will not only impact on our technological advancement, but also, the socio-economic effect will be positively felt especially in the area of job creation for the youth”, said Alhassan Bako Zaku, Minister of Science and Technology, while commissioning the project.

He commented that “in the area of education, the microelectronic centre will also serve as a learning ground for our undergraduates to receive hands-on training and firsthand experience in electronics manufacturing, as the centre is fully equipped to meet their educational needs.”

The minister said the centre will also serve local manufacturers and reduce production time and costs- as before now, they had to import the circuit boards for the manufacturing and assembling of local electronic products – thereby moving Nigeria from a resource to knowledge based economy.

IT News Africa

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