The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa, CCIE has challenged the Nigerian tech innovators and entrepreneurs to identify problems bedeviling the nation with the view of proffering solutions because the government has provided a level playing field for them to achieve that.
Inuwa stated this on Day Three of the Digital Nigeria International Conference 2022 holding Abuja.
He noted that for Nigeria to succeed, the tech ecosystem needs every stakeholder on board to play their roles as required of them. “To build a very strong tech ecosystem, we need the government, the higher institutions, we need the entrepreneurs, the risk capitalists, and corporate organizations everybody has its own role to play.”
He stated that the government is playing its role by creating a level playing ground by formulating policies, legal framework, and regulations and intervening in providing infrastructure to the underserved and unserved communities reiterating that the government is doing more than enough in these regards.
“The government needs you, needs your commitment the same way the government is committed. For the higher institutions, we need you to produce high quality education to the people because innovation, digital economy or knowledge-based economy are all human capital economy.”
“Your greatest resources are not the mineral resources but it is what you have in your brain; we need higher institutions to produce the right skill, talents and people with entrepreneurial skills,” Inuwa noted.
He claimed that the government is doing more than enough in terms of building the human capital and “this is beyond conventional educational system,” adding that the government has several initiatives to achieve the 90 per cent digital literacy which would go a long way in building the tech ecosystem.
He said, “We need the number. We need people to have skills to use in the digital based technological environment and that is why we are training people on high earned skills to build the digital service because digital service is a product-based economy.”
He listed part of government initiatives to include the partnership between Nigeria government and Microsoft to train 5 million Nigerians, the partnership with COUSERA to train 24,000 and several others which aimed at positioning Nigeria to be the global talent factory.
“One of the digital prints we need in the ecosystem is the legal framework. Just last week the President signed the Nigeria Start up bill into law so all these is to level the playing field for you.”
“For the entrepreneurs, now you have the playing field; it is left for you to take your ideas from invention to impact and in Nigeria and even Africa in general, we have a lot of problems awaiting solutions. And technology can serve as inspiration for you to solve these problems so all you need is to explore how you can solve the problems and impact lives,” he said.
While decrying the imbalance in the distribution of global wealth and prosperity, Inuwa maintained that with the thriving tech ecosystem, the imbalance would be corrected. He added that successful countries have three things in common which are innovation, entrepreneurship and good ecosystem because nobody succeed in isolation.
He said, “Even in Nigeria, if you look at the ecosystem, Lagos alone is contributing almost one quarter of the Nigerian Gross Domestic Products, (GDP) and when you talk about the tech ecosystem, it attracts more than 50 per cent; so why?”
He however, sued for the replication of the feat in all other parts of the country. He said, “We can build this kind of ecosystem across the country because every part of the country has its strength and weakness. If we can leverage on the strength, we can build the same ecosystem to build prosperity because innovation is the only thing that can lead any nation to prosperity.
The Day Three of the International Conference which was tagged “Start-Up and Innovation Ecosystem Day” witnessed various enthralling discussions with the lead speech on “Innovative Ecosystem and Investors’ Perspective” which was presented by Satesh Elwani the Managing Director Melsons Group.
The panel sessions focused on: “Building a Thriving and Sustainable Start-up and Innovation Ecosystem for Nigeria’s Digital Economy;” “A tent Approach to Addressing the Talent Gap Issues;” “Exploring the Funding Opportunities for Nigerian Start-ups” and “Unlocking Nigeria’s Innovation Potentials for Economic Growth and Prosperity.”