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NCC evaluates tech start-ups to boost local content

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says it has commenced visitation to various technology startups across the six geopolitical zones toward boosting innovative local contents.

The Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, made this known on Monday in Lagos during a forum on “Emerging Technologies Research and ICT Innovation” organised by the commission.

The theme of the forum is ”Developing Nigeria’s Tech Eco-System: Imperative for improving Local Content”.Represented by Mrs Yetunde Akinloye, NCC’s Director of Legal and Regulatory Services, Danbatta said that the visitation was to assess
the development and challenges of the technology startups.

He said that the drive was in the commission’s effort to encourage technology entrepreneurship and innovation in the ICT sector.He added that “we intend to assist the various tech hubs with the right regulatory intervention to ease their operations.

“It is a fact that finding local solutions to the challenges of the industry is a key policy of the present administration.“We acknowledged that University of Lagos has been one of the prominent tertiary institutions at the forefront of technology innovation, not
only in Lagos State but in the country.

‘“Lagos State in itself has been the ‘Centre of Excellence’ in Nigeria and has the largest concentration of technology hub ecosystem in Africa.”Danbatta said that the ICT Innovation Forum became necessary to promote local content with emphasis on tech ecosystem, identifying unmet
needs and facilitate Public Private Partnership (PPP).

According to him, with the growing pressure of globalisation, every government, as well as captains of industries are charged with the burden of finding ways to ensure competitive and capable local content.

The executive vice chairman noted that it was imperative that the right framework was developed to enhance the ability of indigenous companies to maximally explore and exploit local opportunities, as well as remain globally competitive.He said “Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have developed infrastructure to support voice services and access to data.

“However, it has become expedient for the MNOs to unlock new services and sources of value generation and revenue streams in their operations.“It has become necessary to innovate on how to access segments of the consumer wallets not presently allocated to communication by providing solutions to consumer needs in other vertical areas of education, health, government services, among others, made available through telecommunications
network infrastructure.“We have to be innovative to make different aspects of our lives work.”

The Director, Research & Development, NCC, Ephraim Nwokonneya, said that the forum was in line with the Strategic Eight Point Agenda of the
commission, particularly to promote lCT Innovation and Investment Opportunities.

Nwokonneya said that the tech hubs could be understood as a community, informal or otherwise, that bring together young talents to foster innovation.He said that tech hubs were spaces or incubators where people with ideas solve problems through clusters and become part of the economic infrastructure
of the society and in turn bring prosperity to communities.

According to him, Nigeria’s growing economy needs to leverage on entrepreneurs’ innovations that will help create jobs for the teeming youths.‘He added that “responsive government bodies, therefore, need to encourage tech hubs to utilise their immense economic importance in reducing
unemployment and stimulating innovations, leading to digital inclusion, social and economic development.

“This forum, therefore, targets participation by a broad spectrum of stakeholders to foster collaboration and value creation partnership among stakeholders.“It is common knowledge that the world’s best known tech hub is the Silicon Valley in the United States of America.

‘“The world‘s renowned technology entities such as Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Intel, founded by creative young innovators are located in the Silicon Valley.” Nwokonneya said that propelled by a passion to create Nigeria‘s ”Silicon WaZoBia”‚ the NCC identified Lagos State as location with a large cluster of tech hubs.

He said that some of the hubs recorded milestones and mentored many start-ups to launch and commercial stage.‘“This therefore, informed our choice of Lagos State as the preferred location for the maiden edition of the lCT Innovation Forum, meant to attract participating tech hubs in the South West zone.‘“It is our expectation that more startups would debut after this forum.”


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