The Guardian
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Government targets millions of job through technology hubs



• Nigeria home to 23 of Africa’s 310 active innovation centres

The Federal Government has again committed to boosting job creation opportunities through the establishment of technology hubs across the country.

Speaking in a telephone interview with The Guardian, the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, said government is exploring all available avenues to create millions of job through these hubs.

Indeed, today, inclusion, efficiency, innovation are the main instruments spreading development gains from digital technologies, and the technology hubs and incubator entities, across a wide range, aim to maximise all three in different ways. This makes the establishments of technology hubs critical for any forward thinking economy.

Shittu informed that while government is building private centres where there will be free Wi-Fi connections, a number of technological hubs will also be coming up this year. “We are already working on the modalities to get things done appropriately in that regards. There will be phenomenal growth in the ICT sector, and in another six months, we should see the results.”

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, had informed of plans by the Federal Government to establish innovation hubs across the country, with two ‘super’ hubs in Lagos and Abuja, and six regional technology hubs in the six geo-political zones.

“Technology is certainly the key in turning the economy around, we need to invest significantly and improve our funding in technology and technology related industry,” Osinbajo affirmed.

The establishment of the hubs, according to The Guardian investigations would be in partnership with several major technology companies, whereby the hubs will be fully resourced with infrastructure and capacity building tools.

Furthermore, each hub will be designed to produce relevant innovative technology solutions to a wide range of business, commercial and government problems.

Already, The Guardian gathered that there are 310 active technology hubs across Africa, with Nigeria having the third largest with 23 after South Africa and Kenya, with 51 and 26 hubs respectively.

The springing up of technology hubs in the region has been hinged on the growth of mobile, which has emerged as the platform of choice for creating, distributing and consuming innovative digital solutions and services.

Some of the already existing hubs in the country include Co-Creation Hub; iDEA; Technology Incubation Centre; Delta State Innovation Hub; Focus Hub; Engine Incubator; Calabar Technology Incubation, and a host of others.

The Global System for Mobile telecommunications Association (GSMA) said the technology hubs springing up across Africa represented a key source of locally developed applications, stressing that of the 310 active tech hubs across the region, 180 are accelerators/incubators.

The body, which listed top three countries in terms of tech hubs in the region to include South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, said last year, application accelerator company, Neumob, launched points of presence in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, to enable local app developers to improve the performance, security and user experience of their applications.

GSMA informed that the tech start-up investment ecosystem in Africa is increasingly active, with the range of tech start-ups funded and size of deals reflecting the accelerating development of the ecosystem.

In 2015, it said 125 African tech start-ups raised approximately $185 million, with Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa receiving more than 80 per cent of the funding.

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