How NCC Is Driving ICT Innovations For Growth

The year 2020 has been an eventful year with a lot of landmark regulatory initiatives by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). The policies, programmes and activities of the Commission have further positively impacted the upward trajectory of the digital ecosystem in the year under review.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has taken several steps to drive innovation and digital transformation through funding research and development in ICT in several tertiary institutions across the country and among young innovators.

The Nigerian Communications Commission in 2019 released the sum of N40million to fund relevant research works in tertiary institutions across the country.

NCC said the endowment fund which was released to Bayero University, BUK, Kano and the Federal University of Technology, FUTO, in Owerri, Imo State was in line with its drive for technological innovations which would boost the country’s economic growth.

The fund is to be utilized by the institutions to drive innovation, research and development in the digital space with an ongoing commitment to expand the list of benefiting institutions.

The Commission has contributed over N105 million to fund research and development in over 13 universities. The universities include Bayero University, Kano and the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo state, which received N65 million in May 2019.

A month after, eleven other universities received N65 million. The benefitting tertiary institutions were expected to deliver research results and prototypes that are implementable, commercially-viable and capable of engendering innovation in different sectors of the economy.

The funds are being utilised by the institutions to drive innovation, research and development in the digital space. The NCC has expressed commitment to increase the number of benefitting institutions in 2021.

NCC also expects also that the universities would help it to synchronize the various ongoing research activities and other development projects the Commission is involved in through its Research and Development (R&D) Department.

This decision, which was in line with the provisions of the National Telecommunications Policy 2000 and the Nigerian National ICT Policy 2012, has helped the Commission to stimulate and sustain innovations in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry.

The NCC is also supporting young innovators, through providing them with opportunity to showcase their tech innovations at global telecoms conferences such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecoms World. It is also organising local competitions for technology innovators, on an annual basis, in order for them to competitively develop locally-relevant tech innovations and applications that can help grow the economy is parts of the NCC’s efforts in this regards.

In 2020, the NCC continued its commitment to investing millions of Naira to drive Information and Communications Technology innovations in the academia and while also supporting innovative ideas among young Nigerian tech innovators. Aside several ICT innovation challenge and Hackathon programmes such as the COVID-19 Virtual Hackathon initiated and implemented by the Commission, the NCC, instituted and endowed two additional Professorial Chairs to the tune of N40 million in two more Nigerian universities. The two universities – the premier University of Ibadan, Oyo State and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi State, are endowed with N20 million each over the next two years to embark of massive research to promote innovation to drive socio-economic development in the country.

This brings to four the number of tertiary institutions of learning that has benefitted from the NCC’s innovation-driving initiative.