The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has commenced the 2022 Hackathon programme for students and entrepreneurs to provide a platform for participants to share ideas on ways to confront the country’s challenges using digital innovation.
The programme which is being coordinated by the agency’s subsidiary, the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) and to be hosted in Cross River (south-south), Oyo (southwest) and Adamawa (northeast), has kicked off in Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, Adamawa State. The event witnessed students, entrepreneurs and innovators from different fields harnessing the potentials of Nigerian youths in their quest to become problem-solvers through digital innovation.
The NITDA Hackathon is a national event in collaboration with academic institutions to drive digital innovation and entrepreneurship by challenging Nigeria’s teeming youths to ideate and develop solutions from inception through to the market.
The programme is set to develop and grow a global network of IT experts, comprising Nigerian youths within the country and in the diaspora.
It is targeted at inculcating entrepreneurship spirit in academia, creating a platform where industry and public institutions will leverage the academic research ecosystem to solve national challenges using technology.
The focus of this year’s programme is on agriculture, security and logistics. In considering the country’s current security challenges, the agency gave security a top priority; likewise, agriculture, as a result of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to ensure Nigeria becomes a food self-sufficient nation while fighting against insecurity.
The director-general of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has equally urged the participants to show commitment and use their talent to come up with innovative ideas that will turn the security situation in the country around.
“Technology is all about changing the way people do things, by coming up with ideas that will solve problems. This programme is aimed at giving Nigerian students, entrepreneurs and innovators the motivation to think, ideate and come up with digital innovation that will solve our problems locally.”
While commenting on the role NITDA’s subsidiaries are playing in supporting Nigerian startups, Abdullahi said: “National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) is one of NITDA’s special purpose vehicles created to promote research and development on emerging technologies and their practical application in areas of Nigerian national interest. Also, NCAIR is focused on creating a thriving ecosystem for innovation-driven entrepreneurship (IDE), job creation and national development.”
On his part, the NITDA team lead, Dr. Salihu Abdulkarim, noted that the participants were divided into groups and winners in each category will be awarded cash prizes. They will also have the opportunity to conceptualise their ideas for commercialisation to meet global standards with NITDA’s support.