By Stanley Iwuoha
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has revealed that Nigeria has the potential of becoming an exporting nation if the country leverages on the various innovations her youths are turning out. If well deployed, such can cater for the needs of the nation.
The Minister disclosed this in Abuja at the Stakeholder’s Review Workshop on National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy with the theme Developing an Enabling Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship.”
He maintained that the responsibility of the ministry is to work on policies that will remove the obstacles and barriers against the development of the country, adding that National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy is aimed at providing an enabling environment for indigenous innovation to thrive.
“We want to engage our start-ups and ICT hubs all over the country, identify their major challenges and see how government can provide an enabling environment for them to be very successful and that is the idea behind this policy,” he said.
Oantami noted that from his engagement at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, (MIT) Boston, he realised that a nations digital economy success relies on two elements; indigenous digital innovation and indigenous entrepreneurship.
These are the two elements that will make the country a producing nation instead of a consuming nation. Its because of this I feel this is the right time to work on the national digital innovation and entrepreneurship policy, he said.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi said the objective of the policy is to help; institutionalize digital entrepreneurship in our country in line with the President Muhammadu Buharis Economic Diversification Agenda.
While assuring that the implementation of the policy would create enabling environment for the growth of Innovation Driven Enterprise, (IDE), the DG noted that policy would also create IDE mind-set and skillset which would support learning how to do business in our communities. “Part of it is the mentorship to develop an ecosystem because you cannot be a successful entrepreneur in isolation, he added.
He decried that out of 615 unicorn companies in the world, only three are from Africa, and one in Nigeria in particular, adding that with the proper implementation of the policy, IDE would become a game-changer in terms of job and wealth creation”.
He said, We have seen an IDE (Jumia) that created more than 5,000 direct jobs and grew to more than 1B USD valuation within three years. Boston Consulting Group projected that by 2025, Jumia and other potential unicorn companies could create more than three million jobs in Africa.
Mallam Abdullahi said the global COVID-19 pandemic has made the implementation of the policy imperative because it has accelerated the need for innovative ideas more than before.
NITDA, NNPC to deploy digital technology in petroleum sector
By Stanley Iwuoha
The National Information Technology Development Agency and the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)have agreed to drive the petroleum sector with digital technology in research and innovation.
The agreement was reached when the management received the Research, Technology and Innovation (RTI) Division of NNPC,
at the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Abuja.
The visit was to seek the support of NITDA on how to effectively drive the petroleum sector with digital technology in research and innovation.
The team, led by the Chief Innovation Officer of NNPC, Mrs Ugonna Betty Amaechi, maintained it was at the centre to seek NITDA’s assistance in reviewing some of its strategy, goals, priorities and progress, as well as provide guidance and enablement to succeed.
Mrs Amaechi said, “innovation is about creating new ways of doing things towards achieving performance efficiency and cost cutting.” Innovation is something Nigeria has come to embrace and for innovation to thrive there must be triggers which is why the RTI was formed, she said.
Amaechi revealed that RTI’s business thematic areas includes; cybernetics and automation, downstream innovation, energy innovation, refining of petrochemical innovation, upstream innovation, and market research and service innovation.
She stated that the research aspects of RTI uses a creative, systemic and methodological principles of knowledge to collect, organise and analyse ideas for business growth, sustain development and then solve problems within NNPC.
She said it hopes to learn from NITDA’s wealth of experience adding that its focus is in the area of technology to drive business efficiency, quality service and performance excellence, using advancements in applied sciences, engineering and design in line with technology trends.
In the area of innovation, the team leader said, “RTI came up with the idea of looking at it more centrally from a human-centred approach. She mentioned that RTI intends to embrace human centred innovation.
In his remark, the Director General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, said; “innovation happen when you explore,” adding that, “you need to be an explorer and exploiter at the same time before you become innovative as an organisation”.
He argued that what makes an ecosystem is to have all stakeholders on board. Adding that, “to have a successful innovation ecosystem, it is important to have five key stakeholders which are; Academia, corporate organisation, entrepreneur, and a venture capital, in order to provide funding for the ideas.”
While assuring the RTI of his Agency’s supports to drive various initiatives, the NITDA boss maintained that, “getting an idea from conceptualisation to impact is highly required to be an innovator that opens to new ideas.”
The Research, Technology and Innovation division was created in March 2020 to handle research technology and innovation for the NNPC.
The highlight of the meeting was the touring of the NCAIR facilities.