Why we’re investing in digital innovation, entrepreneurship centre  — FG

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Minister for Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami

… addiction, states, private sector involvement

By Emmanuel Elebeke

The federal government says its main goal in building the pioneering National Center for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship is to create an atmosphere that would usher in an innovation-driven culture among the Nigerian population.

The Minister for Communication and the Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, appealed at the groundbreaking ceremony for the National Center for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Abuja.

The minister said the center is vital to our journey into the digital economy as it will play a huge role in creating value and prosperity among people.

As a very important initiative for the digital economy transformation agenda, he assured that the center would be replicated in at least the six geopolitical zones of the country, starting with the landmark center in the FCT, Abuja, to bring it closer to the people.

” Digital innovation and entrepreneurship are recognized worldwide as two prerequisites for achieving a domestic digital economy. A successful digital innovation and entrepreneurship program will help us develop our digital economy, and that is exactly what we want to achieve with this center.

” Today’s event is critical to our journey into the digital economy as innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital economy play a huge role in creating value and wealth. That is why we are investing in this initiative.

” Our journey began in October 2019 when President Muhammadu Buhari renamed and expanded our ministry’s mandate for the digital economy. The speed at which we are moving is amazing and our successes so far are encouraging.

” Today the digital economy is the fastest growing economy in Nigeria and worldwide. To sustain and consolidate growth, we need to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital space. COVID-19 has affected our lives in unprecedented ways. Many aspects of our lives – work, education, business, entertainment – have gone online.

Pantami said that when the center was built, the government did not try in any way to undermine certificates, but rather redirected people to soft skills, which are the in thing.

He therefore called on the states and the organized private sector (OPS) to promote the establishment of ICT innovation and entrepreneurship parks to cope with unemployment and other social challenges in Nigeria.

He said this was necessary to complement the current government’s determination to diversify the economy and create employment and wealth for the country.

Dr. Pantami, listing the benefits of the center, argued that the economic challenges Nigeria is facing offer people the opportunity to use digital platforms for self-empowerment.

Pantami said: “Mr. President approved the construction of this center on November 11th, 2020 during the meeting of the federal board.

“Before that, I gave the council a detailed presentation of the project and successfully answered around 22 questions in the robust debate that followed the presentation.

“The idea received the overwhelming support of the federal executive board because of the enormous positive impact it can have on the lives of Nigerians.”

According to Pantami, digital innovation and entrepreneurship are recognized worldwide as two prerequisites for achieving a domestic digital economy.

“As such, a successful digital innovation and entrepreneurship program will help us develop our digital economy, and that is exactly what this center is about,” he added.

Pantami said the sector’s growth had resulted in an increased ICT contribution to Nigerian GDP of 17.83% in the second quarter of 2020, adding that broadband penetration also peaked at 45 percent in November last year.

The minister said: “The groundbreaking of the National Center for Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship is another big step towards developing our digital economy and diversifying our country’s economy.

According to him, the center will be based on the concept of “live, work and learn”.

At the beginning of his address, NITDA Director General Mallam Kashifu Inuwa said the aim of the center is to serve as a catalyst for creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship in both public and private sector and academic organizations. Promote the development of new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), quantum computers, and smart energy solutions to advance ICT; Providing an environment in which technology startups can accelerate and experience large-scale innovation; Encouraging local businesses to develop into world class service providers; Providing an environment for the promotion of advanced and applied research in information and communication technology (ICT); and facilitate the recognition and promotion of domestic innovations in new technologies.

Some of the facilities at the center include co-working space (Hackerspace / Maker Space); Space for business research and innovation; Museum of Information Technology (IT); Among other things, the Smart Data Center from Media Studio, the NOC (Network Operation Center), Smart Automation and high-tech showrooms for research and development.

Vanguard News Nigeria