Technology has been identified as a powerful tool to redeem and redirect the economy of Nigeria, especially the South East region. This is the unanimous view of speakers and panelists at GenesysIGNITE 2017, regarded as the biggest annual convergence of technology hubs and startups in the region.
The GenesysIGNITE startups convergence was held in Enugu last week, and organised by Genesys Tech Hub in collaboration with CFAtech.ng; where three startups were presented with cheque worth USD$10,000 each after emerging victorious at the pitch sessions.
Speaking at the epoch-making event with over 2000 startups drawn from Enugu, Abia, Uyo, Imo, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi and other neighboring states in attendance, Senator Ken Nnamani, erstwhile President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria, reiterated that the future of Nigeria belongs to the digital economy and will become visible if the country strategizes properly.
Senator Nnamani who chaired the event, underscored the need for educational institutions, especially the universities to ‘feed’ the technology industry with skilled manpower and graduates fit for purpose. He also showered encomiums on Genesys for the foresightedness in organizing the event capable of igniting mind shift among the youths “from election ballot box snatching to technological evolution in the region”.
“What Genesys is trying to ignite in the South East and Enugu State in particular is awesome, by opening the eyes of our young people to tech disruptions and opportunities. It is important, because our people are ingenious and if we can apply the ingenuity in the tech ecosystem we can compete with the Silicon Valley. It is high time we shift our ingenuity from snatching ballot boxes during elections, and channel the strengths towards technology.”
Meanwhile, Kingsley Eze, founder and CEO of Genesys Tech Hub, said the main objective of the GenesysIGNITE was to discuss latest technology trends that impact the regions, and to proffer strategies for unearthing benefits in the various sectors of the Nigerian economy at large. Through the event, he said, they are also promoting innovative business solutions and ideas, currently propagated in the form of start-ups, within the region, culminating in capacity building and other exigencies to help them thrive.
Presenting the cash prizes to Tutor Finder, PlayJoor and House of Uwe, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, the Minister of Science and Technology, said that it was high time various research and development results were pulled off the shelves from the Nigerian universities and turned to commercial products. Any nation that produces science and technology experts is always the toast of the world. Genesys is doing what the Government has in mind with regards to youth development – capacity building, incubation, providing venture capitals. I can tell you that the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will support this platform to ensure that the young people are given a space to express themselves and add value to the economy.”
Dr. Onu added that the Ministry through the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), the Federal government is addressing issues related to patent and intellectual property as means to safeguard investments and ideas of the young people.
Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr., founder, CFAtech.ng who moderated the panel session informed the youths in attendance that this is the type of events that has helped fuel the tech revolution in other parts of the country and that they owe themselves a duty to take full advantage of the opportunities that will follow GenesysIGNITE 2017.
On his part, Professor Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) tied digital innovation and development to digital literacy, stating that Government needs to move towards the “pull” strategy with emphasis in the development of appropriate legal framework, applications and local content.
“Digital Access Programme (DAP) is being implemented by the regulator to equip secondary schools across the country with internet connectivity. More than 223 schools have benefited. Internet clouds are being provided within Nigeria’s university and polytechnics to foster improvement in digital literacy and application,” the EVC said through Mr. Tony Ojobo, director, Public Affairs at the Commission.
GenesysIGNITE 2017 has laid a solid foundation for technology development in the south east and south south regions of the country.