Prof Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC/CEO of NCC, has stated that, NCC is ready, to assist the various innovation hubs, with the appropriate interventions, to ease their operations.
He stated this, at the opening, of a 2-Day Research and Innovation Forum, organised by the NCC, for tech entrepreneurs and other stakeholders, in the South East geopolitical zone of the country, at Protea Hotel, Owerri, Imo State, on September 17 and 18, 2019.
The EVC/CEO of NCC was represented at the event, by Haru Alhassan, Director of New Media and Information Security, NCC.
Danbatta noted that, the deliberations at the Forum, will improve collaborative efforts and actions, designed by governments and the NCC, to accelerate innovation and accentuate digital economy, in Nigeria.
He affirmed the Commission’s commitment, to collaborate with stakeholders in the country, to deepen the impact of ICT research, innovation and utilisation.
“In its effort, to encourage tech entrepreneurship and innovation in the ICT sector, NCC has embarked on visitations, to various tech startups, across the six geopolitical zones, to assess their development and challenges”, Danbatta opined.
The Governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, was represented by Gerald Irona, his Deputy, who presented an address on his behalf at the opening ceremony.
The governor, stated that, in its first 100 days, his administration has recorded strides, through the creation of the Ministry of Technology Development, funding ICT training programs for different categories of persons and instituting the digitisation of the State’s Tax and Revenue collection processes.
The governor, then, solicited the support and partnership of NCC to enable Imo State government, to expand its vision for ICT innovation and technological development.
Ephraim Nwokonneya, Director, Research and Development, NCC, gave credence to the EVC/CEO that, the theme, of the Forum, “Developing Nigeria’s Tech Ecosystem: The Imperatives for Improving Local Content”, was selected, to emphasise the commitment of NCC, to leverage local content, in the nation’s effort, to achieve concrete digital transformation.
Dr. Chris Uwaje, Director General, Delta State Innovation Hub and also, Africa Chair, IEEE IoT, in his lead paper titled, “Innovation Hubs, as the Fulcrum of Local Content Development, Digital Inclusion and Wealth Creation, Employment Generation and National Economic Development”, stated that, Nigeria will concretely harness opportunities, lurking in ICT and digital economy, by improving local content participation, see innovation hubs as fulcrum of local content, ensure legislative and government support for tech initiatives and nudge young people to be, globally, competitive.
In a panel session on Legislative and Government Support for Enhancing Tech Ecosystem in Nigeria, chaired by Tony Ojobo, former Director Public Affairs at NCC, Founder of Tech X Innovation Hub and President of African ICT Foundation, discussants agreed on the need for State governments, to designate Commissioners for ICT Development, in their various States.
The panelists reasoned that it is also important for all stakeholders to demonstrate the awareness of the capacity of ICT to galvanise growth, so that, such knowledge can trigger, more concrete actions, to provide access, adoption and application, of ICT, in all facets of life.
Another panel discussion, focused on Innovation Hubs as Fulcrum of Local Content, chaired by Hanson Johnson, Founder of Nextdeegit Hub. Here, the panelists were agreed that innovation hubs, hold the promise of harnessing the energy, of the youths for creativity and measurable outcomes.
The panel sessions, emphasised the need, for clear and harmonised policies and strategies, more collaboration of stakeholders and solicited for a new approach, by government, to appreciate the value of ICT, innovation and the treasures, lurked in the digital culture.
Participants welcomed, with enthusiasm, the NCC’s vision of Silicon WAZOBIA, a replication of the Silicon Valley Model, but discussants and other participants urged government to be more intimately involved, in mobilising the innovation hubs, the academia and other strategic actors, in the emerging revolution, driven by ICT.
The Forum, which closes today, is being attended by stakeholders, including, Mobile Network Operators, (MNOs), Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, Galaxy Backbone Plc, tech economy enthusiasts, Founders of tech innovation hubs, Nigerian Computer Society, (NCS), banks, Zinox Technologies and other players in the telecom ecosystem.
Featured Image: Haru Alhassan, Director of New Media and Information Security, NCC, presenting Prof Umar Garba Danbatta’, EVC/CEO of NCC, at the Emerging Technologies Research and ICT Innovation Forum, organized by NCC at Protea Hotel, Owerri, on September 17 and 18, 2019.