In December of 2019, I met with the CEO of Cinfores Limited and the Special Adviser to the Rivers State Government on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Mr Ibifuro Asawo.
We had an interesting conversation about the company which he founded – arguably Rivers State’s foremost ICT company – the work that they are doing for the state, and the State Government’s digitization plans for all sectors of the state.
We began the conversation with me asking Mr Asawo how he would describe the work that Cinfores does for their clients. His answer was a rather short and direct one as he noted that Cinfores is simply a value-adding company.
He didn’t stop there, however. Continuing, he described Cinfores as an ICT4D company that uses ICT to bring development to various sectors of the economy. For over a decade, their focus was the education sector, however, in the last two years, they have been working on several projects with partners to achieve the digitization of other sectors of the economy.
Next, I asked Mr Asawo specifically about the project that Cinfores is doing for Rivers State and he noted that:
Cinfores is the lead consultant firm managing the ICT for the state. TechCreek is one of the things that we set up for the state. TechCreek is a technology, innovation and creativity hub. For the various things that the state will be doing in terms of the digital economy of the state, TechCreek is to bring in the manpower to be able to sustain and drive all of these things.
TechCreek facilitates Learning, Creating, and Connecting. Through its Learn initiative, the hub provides avenues for continuous development for learners to acquire new skills and practical competencies.
One of their programs includes Codegaminators – an initiative to skill-up Rivers youths in the fundamentals of the ICT content industry which includes software, games, animations, movies, music, education, health etc. – for seniors and juniors aged 9 to 16 years.
Another program is the 21st Century Education Skills for Teachers which is designed to introduce and expose teachers to the world of ICT and the new approach of teaching.
Through its Create and Connect initiatives, TechCreek serves as a nursery providing the right ecosystem for startups and individuals in Port Harcourt and its environs that are actively developing solutions to meet local needs.
Finally, I enquired if the digitization projects which Cinfores is undergoing cuts across all sectors of the state’s economy and Mr Asawo’s response was affirmative:
Yes. What we’re doing is we’re automating and digitizing all sectors of the economy. We’ve started with the first six sectors. We’ve got something for health, court (law), land use (urban planning), tax and revenue, and education. Other sectors that will be worked on include agric, housing, and transportation. The aim of this is to see how government can be able to improve service delivery and improve its index around the ease of doing business.
You can find more information about the progress of the Rivers State digitization initiative from here.