The Kwara State Government has announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IHS Nigeria for the development of a technology innovation facility tagged, ‘Ilorin Innovation Hub’ in Kwara State.
The project is part of the Kwara state government’s efforts to stimulate and deepen the alignment of technology, innovation, entrepreneurship, investment, and job creation for young people aged 18 to 35 years old.
IHS Nigeria will provide financial and technical support to complete the Ilorin Innovation Hub, in addition to operating and managing it on behalf of the Kwara state government. The partner will also deliver various training programmes on digital skills enhancement, and accelerator programmes for start-ups at the hub.
“What we are witnessing today is an attestation to the foundation that my administration has laid since we came into office, which is to build sustained socioeconomic development and institutional growth that will reposition Kwara State as the hallmark of innovation,” Kwara state governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, said in a statement released by Rafiu Ajakaye, the Kwara state government’s spokesperson.
AbdulRazaq reiterated his administration’s commitment to providing an enabling environment for technology talent and startups to thrive, and to the continuous stimulation of digital skills and entrepreneurial capacity amongst young people in the state.
“I believe that this public-private partnership will deepen the reforms and investments that we have embarked on in critical sectors like education, healthcare delivery, infrastructure development, and ICT which are focused on diversifying our economy,” AbdulRazaq stated.
Mohamad Darwish, IHS Nigeria CEO, stated that the project aims to transform Kwara into an economically viable and self-sustainable state, while promoting digital literacy, technological advancement, and youth empowerment.
According to him, the initiative will provide a space to inspire experimentation and the exploration of new approaches, and models for product development, service, technology, and process innovations for young innovators.
“We are honoured to be part of this project with the Kwara State government to develop a facility that seeks to be the largest innovation centre in Nigeria, both in terms of size and quality of programmes. When completed, this facility will foster disruptive ideas, research, funding of innovative solutions, and the development of creative thinking to help solve business and societal challenges,” Darwish stated.
He stated further that with the signing of the MoU, the Kwara state government and IHS Nigeria are developing a work plan to complete the Ilorin Innovation Hub, with the key objective of bringing the hub into operation by July 2024.
He also recognized the role played by the ministry of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy in supporting the development of the innovation hub. “I also commend Dr. Bosun Tijani, the honourable minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, for creating an enabling environment for collaborations like these to thrive in this sector”.