Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has called for the need of all necessary stakeholders to collaborate with the Ministry and its other agencies to advance the development of local digital solutions in Nigeria.
The Minister advocated for this in the recent award presentation of N3 million research grant to three startups that prevailed as winners in NCC’s COVID-19 Virtual Hackathon that took place in Abuja on Tuesday, September 1, 2020.
The Commission initiated the Virtual Hackathon to charge Nigerian youths in building innovative and adaptable digital solutions capable of addressing some challenges that have developed due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Primed E-Health Solutions, Cyberfleet and Elizade University Team made emerged the top three from the pool of participants.
Primed E-Health developed a mobile and web solution called SmartClinic, which can link a patient-based mobile health app with a hospital-based information management system.
Cyberfleet is an online platform that can get deployed by schools to continue with teaching and learning activities irrespective of any health challenges that may prevent face-to-face physical interactions.
The Elizade University Team’s tech solution is an Automated Temperature Scanner (ATS), a device designed to conduct automatic temperature screening and contact tracing of persons with a body temperature above the normal level for human beings.
Dr. Pantami, while speaking at the Hackathon applauded NCC’s leadership for taking up the tech contest.
He emphasised that the initiative is correlated to both the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) and the implementation of the Executive Order 003, which aims to promote indigenous content development and patronage in Nigeria.
According to the Minister, “No country will develop without taking deliberate decisions to promote its indigenous solutions to solve national problems.
Through this contest, the NCC has demonstrated its resolve to drive the Ministry’s efforts in leveraging indigenous digital solutions to address challenges thrown up by COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,”.
In December 2019, prior to the COVID-19 Virtual Hackathon, the NCC hosted its first hackathon which resulted in the hosting of an ‘ICT Innovation, Competition/Exhibition Forum’ at the Lagos Campus of Digital Bridge Institute (DBI).
This maiden edition saw three (3) Startups namely, Quataloog, Wicrypt and Phaheem Nigeria Limited emerged winners.
The Commission’s aim of the annual Hackathon is for it to be part of the strategic initiatives that can drive ICT innovation and investment in the country’s telecommunications sector and improve the nation’s competitiveness in the global digital economy.
Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, who spoke earlier at the event, said that the hackathon is expected to throw up innovative and adaptable solutions in five thematic areas namely health, community, productivity, economy and education
According to the EVC, NCC is committed to continue its effort in encouraging innovation, while stating the Commission has continuously sponsored Nigerian youths with innovative ideas to various competitions organised by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and other international bodies.
“The NCC, has in the past two years, facilitated similar ICT-based innovations and research competitions among tertiary institutions in the country,” Danbatta said.
Dr. Henry Nkemadu, Director, Research and Development, stated that the Commission received 282 proposals and shortlisted 56 from which three promising startups emerged winners.
He stated that the Commission will track the development of their ideas into full-blown products that can get deployed on a commercial basis.
The Commission is committed to allowing indigenous digital innovative solutions that improve the quality of for Nigerians, create wealth and achieve the overall goals and objectives of the new digital economy agenda of the Federal Government.
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