Finally, Intel is ready to do business in Nigeria. This is after a couple of years of test-running the Nigerian business environment with only a few appointed resellers. Now, Intel Corporation has seen the big bucks that can be made from the Nigerian market and has decided to pitch tents here by opening an office in Lagos . The office will serve the entire West African region.

This is even as it has introduced a bouquet of development programmes to energise its plans of increasing its point of presence in the country. A development that will boost its support for resellers, integrators and channel members.

Making the commitment recently during the launch of the new office, Vice President of the Sales and Marketing Group and General Manager of the Customer Solutions Group at Intel, Mr John Davies, said that the office was a testimony to the potential of the Nigerian market and Intel's growing focus on West Africa, adding that "we are confident that our presence in Nigeria will allow us to work more closely with regional governments and market players to help enable the IT einauguration conomy and promote the development of the IT sector and driving ICT education in West Africa."

In the company of his Business Development Manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, Mr Sam Mensah, Davies noted that his coming to Nigeria was also to get involved in a number of digital transformation initiatives including the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education to further the cause of integrating modern information and communication technologies into the country's education strategies.

The basic missions according to Davies, were to train teachers on IT; partner with the telecom companies to empower the rural areas with internet connectivity and partner with the government on policies that would engender affordable acquisition of computers for both urban and rural dwellers.

On the education front, Intel said it was finalizing the details of its "Intel Teach to the Future" program in Nigeria, which aims at training teachers to incorporate the use of IT in their teaching. The programme aims at training about one hundred and fifty thousand teachers, in five years time.

The company said its confidence in the programme included having launched the Intel Innovation in Education initiative in the EMEA region, which focuses on preparing today's teachers and students for tomorrow's demands, adding that the company's innovation in Education reflects its commitment to education, and promotes effective use of technology in classrooms allover the world.

According to Davies, the company's strategy to sail in the Nigerian economy included plans to work with the local industry stakeholders like the indigenous software developers to help strengthen the local industries and create more jobs for the teeming Nigerian unemployed youths.

Explaining Why the company was working to improve education in the country, Davies explained that throughout Intel's 36-year history, active community involvement with education has been a strategic business focus for the company, having invested more than USD 1 billion in support of education, providing programs and support in more than 50 countries around the world since inception.

Other initiatives the company plans to introduce into the Nigerian economy included: Intel Teach to the Future; the programme according to Davies, is a worldwide professional development program designed to help teachers use technology successfully to improve student learning . He said the programme was launched in 2000, and has trained more than 2.5 million teachers in 40 countries, expecting to have trained about 3 million teachers worldwide by end of 2005.

Intel Learn Program: This is an after-school, community-based program designed to teach technological literacy, problem solving and collaboration skills-essential skills for success in today's knowledge economy. The programme was created in collaboration with governments and non-governmental agencies, using trained staff to guide 8-16 year old learners through an engaging, structured curriculum.

The basic aim of this programme according to Intel was to meet the unique needs of emerging markets by - delivering high-quality, technology-based education opportunities, with target audience including young people who have access to education, but do not have access to computers at home or at school.

The Intel Learn Program is said to be currently active in eight countries, including China, India, Israel and Mexico and Brazil, Egypt, and Russia.

Skoool Education Technology: This is another Intel initiative to Nigeria which aims at being the leading national online learning service for secondary level students; designed, developed and operated by Intel and supported by leading private sector companies. The objective of skool is to provide wide and completely free access to the best in online multimedia learning resources for all students to help accelerate the widespread adaptation of quality technology-based learning.

Intel Computer Clubhouse: Is an after-school community-based technology learning program which enable youths in under served communities to acquire tools necessary for personal and professional success. The philosophy of the Intel Computer Clubhouse is "beyond access," a place where young people use professional software to create computer-based projects inspired by their own ideas. The Computer Clubhouse provides a supportive learning environment where youths build skills and self confidence, as well as a future, working together with adult mentors who provide inspiration and serve as role models. The programme is said to have helped more than 50,000 youths.