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Nigeria’s digital innovations making waves, FG claims

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Digital world. Photo; entrepreneur

The Federal Government has said Nigeria’s digital innovation space is making waves across Africa and beyond, as well as driving cutting-edge and emerging technologies to create jobs for the youths.

Citing a report by the Startup Genome and a survey on Nigerian Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs), the government observed that there were about 6,500 MSMEs in the country, some in the digital, with Lagos housing some 700 digital innovation-registered businesses worth over $2 billion.

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Meanwhile, the government has dolled out N10 million as a seed fund to five winners of the 2021 Creativity and Innovation Challenge.

Speaking yesterday at an event to mark the United Nations World Creativity and Innovation Day in Abuja, Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, submitted that the current administration was strengthening the innovation ecosystem, promoting the adoption of emerging technologies for sustainable development, digital job creation and local content development and adoption.

He clarified that the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics was primarily established to drive cutting-edge innovations in emerging technologies through robust research and development programmes, adding that the government intended to boost innovation-driven entrepreneurship (IDE) to create many jobs for Nigerian youths.

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The NITDA boss observed that the nation’s drive towards building a robust framework and infrastructure to improve technology innovation for all Nigerians had been supported by the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for Digital Nigeria and other policies that could ignite innovation activities and create wealth and prosperity for the citizens.

Abdullahi said the agency had identified innovation as a critical tool for implementing the strategy and taken bold steps to drive the nation’s prosperity by boosting digital innovation and entrepreneurship.

According to him, Nigeria has a bustling fintech ecosystem, with over 200 fintech, global attention and venture capital investments.

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Abdullahi pointed out that superpowers like China were already reaping benefits of their technology-innovation initiatives and policies, stressing that advancements, particularly market-creating innovations, have the potential of transforming nations and lifting them out of poverty.

He said: “Market-creating innovation pull infrastructure and investments that can transform the economy and create prosperity.

“We are deeply committed to fostering digital innovation culture among Nigerians. We have several programmes and initiatives aimed at boosting the innovative capacity of our youths, which include catch-them-young programmes targeted at orienting Nigerian kids to become active players in the digital technology space. In line with our goals of strengthening the innovation ecosystem, we drive catalytic programmes like hackathons and innovation challenge that would foster that culture.”

It would also enhance the hubs, where innovative ideas are conceptualised and nurtured. Our programmes are designed to build innovation and entrepreneurship capabilities across Nigeria.”

Also speaking, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, who noted that Nigeria’s future in digital innovation and entrepreneurship was very bright, added that over 800 Nigerians participated in the contest where the lucky five emerged.

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