The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami has tasked tech ecosystem key players to adopt a solutions-oriented mindset by coming up with innovative and creative solutions to solve the country’s problems.
Speaking during the Co-Create 2022 International Tech Exhibition and Gage Awards, Pantami pointed out that breakthroughs in medicine, technology and science through innovations and innovative products have had significant impact on the economic advancement of the society by improving the lives of citizens and offering more opportunities which the government and the tech ecosystem can collectively leverage on.
Pantami, who was represented by the director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, expressed his uttermost pleasure at the event which he delineated as being timely and strategic.
While describing the theme of the event ‘Collaborative Innovation for a Better Tomorrow’ as exciting, Pantami stated that the most important part of the innovative process is commercialising it.
He stated that innovation is a process of taking an idea from inception all the way to impact. “While many people think innovation and invention mean the same thing, innovation is creating a market or democratising access to your solution, product or services.”
Underpinning his point with an illustration, the minister cited that the telecommunications sector which was orchestrated by Mo Ibrahim in Africa about 20 years ago encountered so many challenges but has now evolved into Africa’s biggest sector.
Giving assurances of the government’s support to innovators in the country, he urged all players in the tech ecosystem to think and act like Mo Ibrahim with the mindset of creating solutions to solve the country’s problems.
“In Nigeria, we have many problems and we need more innovations to solve them. These kinds of collaborations we are having here today can open doors for this because you cannot survive in isolation. Everything is about [an] ecosystem,” he noted.
Buttressing his point further, the minister emphasised that the five critical stakeholders in an ecosystem are the innovators (otherwise known as the ‘entrepreneurs’ who start and grow businesses with ideas and solutions), the human capital developers (who discover talents and are the human components of technology), the government (enablers of a level-playing field for innovators), the risk capitals (who invest money in startups) and the corporate organisations (who buy the products).
Effective collaboration of these five stakeholders in Nigeria, he said, will produce an excellent and viable ecosystem in the country. Emphasising the present administration’s commitment to the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) by effectively collaborating with innovators in the industry, Pantami said that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved that the departments and agencies under the ministry’s supervision co-create solutions with the ecosystem in areas of procurement, IP & patenting and giving Incentives to encourage the startups.
While further disclosing how to co-create with the ecosystem, the minister highlighted the need for clarity by all parties to unleash energy, build trust, build stronger startups and devise policies to shape the future are key indices to establishing and sustaining a formidable ecosystem in the country.
“Whatever we do, we don’t do in isolation. We work with the ecosystem to co-create policies and regulations. Whatever we do, we do together. We believe that, together, we can do greater things. That is why we are here to work with you and to co-create our future,” he added.
The technology exhibition, which was occasioned at the Landmark Centre, Lagos had in attendance the special adviser to the Lagos State governor on science and technology, Mr. Olatunbosun Alake; the chief technical officer of the African Data Centre, Dr. Krish Ranganath, 100 tech exhibitors and other key players in the tech ecosystem.
The exhibition showcased innovative businesses locally and across the globe with a physical presence in Nigeria.