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FG supports local innovation, primes Nigeria for producing nation

By Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze, Abuja
09 December 2020   |   3:27 am
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, disclosed this at the Stakeholders Review and Validation Workshop of the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy (NDIEP), organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in Abuja.

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The Federal Government has pledged to support local innovation and entrepreneurship to enable Nigeria become a producing instead of a consuming nation.
To this end, the government has concluded plans to engage ICT hubs, and startups, among other innovators, to evaluate their innovation for support.

Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, disclosed this at the Stakeholders Review and Validation Workshop of the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy (NDIEP), organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in Abuja.

He noted that Nigeria has the potential to produce and deploy what it needs and the government is working on providing the enabling environment by introducing the NDIEP.

He said: “When we support our innovators and entrepreneurs, they will increase our products and position Nigerian goods for more exports. Government is providing the enabling environment for indigenous innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive is the key to driving the digital economy.”

Pantami called on young innovators to be consistent and focused, adding that the workshop, which was themed, “Developing an Enabling Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy,” expected stakeholders from different sectors of the national innovation ecosystem to review, suggest amendments and propose implementation strategies for the policy.

The Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, explained that there are two types of entrepreneurship which include Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), and the Innovation-Driven Enterprise (IDE).
Inuwa said the SME is more on short term and regional benefits, while the IDE grows exponentially and can expose an idea to the international market.

He said: “The policy is designed to help us create an enabling environment to start and grow IDEs in Nigeria. By implementing the policy, we will create the IDE mindset and skill set and learn how to do business in our communities.”

He noted that IDEs such as Jumia created over 5,000 jobs in 2012 when it was established, while the value grew to $1 billion in three years.
He recalled that Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm predicted that in 2025, Jumia and other potential unicorn companies can create three million jobs in Africa.

“Out of 615 unicorn companies in the world, only three are in Africa, two in South Africa and one in Nigeria. America has 265, China 204, UK 24, and India 21,” he said.

Inuwa added that growing unicorn companies is about putting in place government policies that drive digital transformation and ensure the delivery of new customer value propositions using digital technology and the innovation ecosystem.
He said the government is committed to mentoring startups to develop the innovation ecosystem and translate their ideas into products for commercialisation.

Technical Assistant to the Minister on IT, Dr. Femi Adeluyi, while reviewing the policy draft, said it targets to leverage digital innovation and entrepreneurship for job creation, as well as empower Nigerian youths.

“The policy will promote research, indigenous content development and adoption while protecting the intellectual property of indigenous innovators.”

He said the policy is in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), while its priority areas focus on developing human capital, unlocking funding, and developing infrastructure, among others, noting that on the adoption of the policy, there will be constant review, monitoring for compliance by the government.

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