Inuwa Charges Youths On Technological Disruption

Nigeria’s Tech innovators have been charged to employ the use of technology as a source of inspiration in their quest to disrupt businesses as the three capabilities they needed to achieve the feats are now readily available.

Kashifu Inuwa, Director General, of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), handed down this advice today in Lagos where he delivered a keynote speech at the 19th edition of the ICTEL Expo organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the theme “Tech Disruption: Transforming Industries with Innovation”.

He said the combination of ubiquitous data, unlimited connectivity, and massive processing power could give tech innovators the leverage to disrupt anything they can think of.

While making the distinction between innovation and invention, the NITDA’s boss explained that innovation is a process from ideation to impact but invention is all about research that may not necessarily be commercialised.

He said, “You spend money on research. You spend money to come up with new things while innovation makes money. So innovation is invention and commercialization.”

“As start-ups, you need to be able to pitch your product for a new company; for people to use it to solve problems. That’s why we have you, the startups; we have you with ideas. You need to come and disrupt. You need to use technology as a source of inspiration to disrupt businesses,” he reiterated.

While citing the success story of Flutterwave, a FinTech company that now has a bigger capital base than some commercial banks; Inuwa maintained that the company saw a big gap and decided to fill it with using technological solutions that connect business-to-business transactions. “So, you too can see the power of technology; is not happening only in the developed Western countries. Even in Nigeria, you can start your business, and use technology to grow it.”

He stated that “So looking at all these and how you can transform it, what we normally encourage startups to do is focus on the solution. It is not about the money. If you have solutions, the money will come. So don’t focus on the money. Don’t follow the money. Follow the solutions. The money will follow you. So, look at what kind of problem you want to solve.”

While encouraging them to think big as they think about the solution they want to provide, the Director General affirmed that with the mindset they have to solve local problems, it can be expanded to solve global issues.

“That is the difference between just normal Small and Medium Enterprises and you. We call you startups because you use the power of technology to build your business and become Innovation-Driven Enterprises, (IDEs). This implies that you start small; how can you solve a local problem with the mindset of taking it to the global stage? Technology can help you to do that. You don’t need to have a physical space to do that.

Inuwa disclosed that the startups could leverage the several initiatives of the government to attain greater heights in their exploits.

“We have so many initiatives that can help you to achieve that. When the government formulated the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, (NDEPS) at NITDA, we crafted our Strategic Roadmap Action Plan, (SRAP) with seven strategic pillars that could spur technological innovation development in Nigeria.

He advised the participants to get ready for the future of work as there are going to be talent deficits because of the aging population the Western world is witnessing which Nigeria can fill because of the abundant talent and youthful population the country is blessed with, adding that “we have abundant talent; it’s just for us to harness that talent.“

According to Inuwa, the Federal Government through NITDA is embarking on several initiatives to bridge the skill gap in the country noting that the government has conducted a skill gap analysis to determine the kind of competencies required to build the country. It is also working on the Digital Literacy Framework which would soon be signed, and Talent Hunt Strategy.

The event is attended by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Williams Allo, The Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone, Prof. Muhammed Abubakar, some members of the Nigeria Communications Commission management board, and the executive of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, (LCCI),