Nigeria, Japan To Deepen Bilateral Relations As NITDA, JICA Partner On iHatch

As more and more digitally creative Nigerians in the Country respond to the Federal Government’s charge on finding new indigenous solutions to some key problems, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), in its drive to engender marketable innovations from engaging start-ups in different skills and knowledge-based training for them to compete favourably with their global counterparts, is partnering with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in kick-starting a programme tagged “iHatch”.

The Start-up Programme which focuses on youths, innovations, entrepreneurship and technology, is expected to accelerate the process of bringing innovative ideas to life, thereby generating the much-needed jobs for the teeming youths and catalyzing the Nigerian Digital Economy to the next level.

At the iHatch Start-up Incubation opening ceremony, jointly organized by the National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), a subsidiary of NITDA, and JICA, the Director-General of the Agency, Kashifu Inuwa said, ”the partnership with JICA is expected to be among other things, aid learning to know what Japan is doing differently in transforming its digital economy, borrow some ideas as well as share experiences to domesticate the initiatives to suit the Nigerian digital economy needs.”

The DG congratulated the eight successful startups who were selected from about five thousand applicants that sought to participate in the programme. He, however, advised them to see the platform as a golden opportunity to hatch their ideas.

“Innovation is the process of taking your ideas from inception to impact… just having an idea means nothing; until you can get someone to pay you for that idea; so, this programme is designed to help you move that your idea from inception up to impact,” he admonished.

He noted that the target at the end of the project is to incubate, mould, and launch excellent ideas into products or services that will positively turn things around in the country, especially, in critical areas of the economy and help humanity in general. The NITDA boss expressed optimism that the partnership will be mutually beneficial to both countries.

Earlier, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Nigeria, Matsunaga Kazuyoshi, and other dignitaries from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), were unanimous that the plan is to enhance the Nigerian Start-up ecosystem.

He emphasized that one of the features of the collaboration is not only to provide aid or financial support but to most importantly provide the required expertise as well as to transfer Japanese Corporate ethics to project success.

“iHatch will support Nigerian Tech entrepreneurs by redefining their business models through a series of mentoring, lectures and boot-camp, culminating in the establishment of sustainable and capable business models”

Some of the successful startups who were elated for being a part of the programme expressed confidence that their solution-driven ideas which got selected and enlisted among the approved eight would translate to bringing their ingenuity and creativity to bear.

They appreciated the Federal Government through NITDA and NCAIR for the chance to partake in nation building and channel their respective talents into a productive course.
NITDA hopes that the programme will inspire Nigerian youths to brush up on their business ideas and seize the opportunity to empower themselves as well as contribute to creating a better future for Nigeria as the success would be added to the list of achievements in Nigeria-Japan relations.

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