• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Nigeria to enjoy innovation boost with new government tech startup forum

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The Office for ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIIE) has commenced a strategic interactive program among federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and ICT startups.

This was done in line with its commitment to turn Nigeria into a technology innovation hub in Africa,

The OIIE which is a special purpose vehicle established under National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Act, was setup to nurture, cultivate and expand ICT innovation and entrepreneurship in Nigeria in line with NITDA Act 2007 and the National ICT policy.

Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Communications, said information communication technology (ICT) is a key tool in the change agenda of the current administration. He stressed that President Buhari’s administration would deploy ICT to tackle youth employment, wealth creation, economic growth, efficiency and transparency in government.

According to him, the objective of the retreat was for the OIIE to start an active engagement between the ICT start-ups and government.

“It is expected that through these initiatives and programs, there will be an increase in the contributions from ICT to the national GDP, which will include more jobs and wealth creation,” he said.

Bunmi Okunowo, National Coordinator, OIIE, said that government everywhere in the world is a huge market for ICT entrepreneurs as there are challenges in government processes and service delivery requiring solution.

“As it’s often said, charity begins at home. There is a need to infuse new ICT innovations into government to improve efficiency in its service delivery to its stakeholders, as well as increase transparency and accountability,” he added.

There is an increasing number of ICT startups and entrepreneurs with government-facing technologies, Okunowo explained, those have evolved over time and can solve specific challenges in government. “We have startups like Talentbase with HR solution, Prowork with mobile-based project management app, Slimtrader, an agro-allied based app, e-Pump solution from Africania, Wecyclers, an incentive-based recycling company, Wizitup with an educational solution and many others across the country”.

Specifically, he explained that the aim of the Government Startup Interactive Program (GSIP) would be to establish networks and dialogue between the Heads of ICT in MDAs and IT start-ups towards improving efficiency in government service delivery through innovative and trendy technologies, as well as creating market opportunities for startups.

Moni Udoh, Secretary, Council of ICT Heads in MDAs, offered that the council would collaborate with IT startups in the provision of required assistance that would enable them deploy IT tools to address public sector challenges. She disclosed that although the Council was inaugurated on April 4, 2013, as an advisory body with no authority to make decisions, it could encourage ICT transformational changes within the MDAs.

She opined that the aim is “to promote collaboration among ICT leaders in the MDAs and organize experience, knowledge and information sharing sessions to promote identification of leading practices and organizational improvement, act as agents for the diffusion and adoption of leading IT practices across MDAs, promote professionalism among IT cadre while grooming future leaders in the IT industry”.

While presenting his paper at the two day event to commence the forum, Babatunde Adebola, senior manager, Technological Growth Platform at Accenture Nigeria, a leading global professional service company, disclosed that Nigeria has emerged the sixth highest spender in the world on ICT in 2015, with USA, UK and Germany as the three top ICT spenders from 2013 to 2015.

 

Jumoke Akiyode