Gov Ben Ayade of Cross River State

Cross River State is set to go on a path ICT/Software Development and growth as the state government has sealed up an agreement with software giant Microsoft to launch an ICT/Data academy in Calabar, the state capital.

This development according to the state government is geared towards making Calabar the first smart city in Nigeria. Speaking in his office at the end of a technical session with representatives of Microsoft, Ayade said the partnership will define the roadmap for the digital transformation of the State.

“Let me thank Microsoft for the partnership. It is a demonstration of confidence in Cross River to start a digital transformation of the first African city that will be the first smart city”, the Governor said.

He explained that key objectives of the partnership are to create opportunities for young men and women of the State and to develop an ICT paradigm, a data management academy to teach and educate them on data management, particularly on the proposed ICT platform.

The Governor opined that through the Microsoft/Cross River partnership, digital transformation objectives will be achieved for young Africans using the platform to market their talent and products.

His words: “By aggregating and introducing an academy, young Cross Riverians, Nigerians and indeed Africans as a whole will be properly trained

“The partnership will lead to the generation of knowledge, content and wealth, thereby reducing poverty and improving the value of mankind which is the whole essence of human endeavor. ”According to Sir Ayade, Cross River is fully ready for the ICT project noting that experts are expected in the State soon.

“In the next few weeks, the State will have a pool of scientists deployed to conduct interviews with stakeholders and also do a verification and site assessment with the view to establishing a location point and other infrastructure and auxiliary facilities that would be required for the kickoff.

“As the first step, the State will be sending a team of 10 young ICT Engineers to join them in Turkey as first set of trainees who will be trainers upon return to Nigeria.”

In his remarks, Mr. Osmen Ulukuz, Microsoft’s Security Director, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) Region said the digital transformation that Cross River has already begun will train students and young Africans on data management using the proposed academy.

He said given the various indexes, the State stands out among other states of the federation.

According to him, Microsoft is pleased to reach the continent (Africa) using Cross River State. The high point of the meeting was the inspection of a proposed site for the academy by the Governor and the team from Microsoft.