The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said this year’s annual Information Communications Technology Innovation Competition and Exhibition, organized by its Research and Development Department will focus on three key areas.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta who stated this today in Lagos at the opening of the 3-day programme, stated that the three key areas are digital service development and promotion, indigenous content development and adoption and funding digital skills building and innovation in Nigeria.
He said these areas were chosen because they are critical for developing indigenous businesses into world-class service providers and creating conditions for iterative problem-solving by indigenous digital technology and innovation service providers.
“In terms of digital service development and promotion, it is important that we support the growth and development of digital businesses in Nigeria. This includes not just tech startups, but also small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and even large corporations that are looking to adopt digital technologies and improve their operations. By providing a platform for these businesses to showcase their innovations and forge partnerships, we can help to stimulate productivity, sustainability, and continuous growth in the ICT sector,” he said.
The former University lecturer added that indigenous content development and adoption is another important focus area for this year’s competition.
“One of the key challenges that we face in the ICT sector is the lack of locally produced content. This can be a barrier to the adoption of digital technologies, as it means that users often have to rely on foreign-produced content, which may not always be relevant or appropriate for the local context. By promoting the development and adoption of indigenous content, we can help to ensure that digital technologies are better able to meet the needs of local users and communities,” he argued.
According to him, funding digital skills building and innovation in Nigeria is critical for ensuring that the country has the necessary human capital to drive the growth and development of the ICT sector. This includes not just technical skills, but also business and entrepreneurship skills, as well as a range of other skills that are necessary for success in the digital economy. By providing funding for skills building and innovation, we can help to ensure that the ICT sector has the talent it needs to thrive and grow.
The theme of this year’s competition is “Utilizing Indigenous Digital Solutions to Bridge the Digital Divide,” and it is an incredibly important and timely theme.
Also speaking at the event held at the Digital Bridge Institute in Lagos, Mr. Ismail Adedigba, Director, Research and Development Department at NCC, noted that the provides a platform for tech enthusiasts and other stakeholders with novel ideas and tech solutions to industry and societal challenges to showcase their creative innovations and forge collaborative partnerships that can stimulate productivity, sustainability, and continuous growth in the ICT sector.
He explained that the competition is in line with Nigeria’s National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, specifically pillars 5, 7, and 8, which focus on digital service development and promotion, digital society and emerging technologies, and indigenous content development and adoption, respectively.
The competition will last for three days starting today. It will give an opportunity for the participants to showcase their innovative ideas and solutions for bridging the digital divide. The exhibition booths, which will be visited and evaluated by the judges provide an excellent platform for the participants to display their work.
“It is important to note that this competition is not the end, but rather the beginning of our collective journey towards bridging the digital divide in Nigeria. We must continue to support and invest in local, indigenous digital solutions to ensure that all citizens have access to the technology and opportunities they need to thrive in today’s digital age,” he said.
Meanwhile, in his welcome address, the Executive Commissioner Technical Services, Nigerian Communications Commission, Engr. Ubale Maska, argued that the Nigerian economy is facing several challenges, including the need to diversify and grow Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Thus, the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-2025 recognizes this need and emphasizes the importance of investing in critical physical, financial, science and innovation infrastructure to create a more resilient business environment and drive economic growth.
“In line with this, the Federal Government has also released the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020- 2030, which aims to leverage the potential of digital technologies to drive economic growth and create new opportunities for businesses and individuals.
“The NCC has also released its own Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) 2021-2025, which outlines the key priorities and goals for the Commission over the next five years. One of these priorities is to encourage and support the development of innovative solutions and digital startups that can drive growth and development in the ICT sector.
“This is where the annual ICT Innovation Competition/Exhibition comes in. This event is designed to foster increased national innovativeness and sustainable digital startup development, and to provide a platform for entrepreneurs and innovators to showcase their ideas and solutions to a wider audience,” he said.