In an effort to achieve the digital economy agenda as well as bridge digital divide, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has set out to promote commercially viable innovations and home grown solutions for the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in Nigeria.
This serves as the focal point of discussion at the maiden edition of the NCC Annual Emerging Technologies Research (ETR) ICT Innovation Competition/ Exhibition held at Digital Bridge Institute in Lagos.
This competition/ exhibition, according to the commission is organized to bring together competitors from Technology Hubs with novel ideas/projects that meet the required criteria to positively impact the development of Nigeria telecommunications industry and support the growth of the Nation’s economy.
In his Keynote address, NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof. Umar Danbatta stated that the exhibition is aimed at achieving the commission’s commitment to promoting ICT innovation and investment opportunities, provide possible support to the growth of Technology Hubs within the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Danbatta said through this, the commission will assist contestants to bring their ideas to fruition, find the best business innovations that have potentials to succeed in the commercial environment, and provide opportunity for them to present their plans to both local and global venture capitalists.
He added that the forum will help foster business innovations and entrepreneurship; building people-to-people ties; and responding to national challenges using ICT.
According to him, the importance of the telecom sectors cannot be overemphasized, as it has been very useful in the provision of platforms for digital economy, improvement of healthcare, knowledge creation, increased productivity and the enhancement of socio-economic growth in general.
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Similarly, the Executive Commissioner, Technical services, NCC, Engr. Ubale Ahmed Maska noted that the ICT sector has become the key driver of digital transformation and digital economy globally.
“ICT innovation has been established as a veritable engine for sustainable economic growth and global competitiveness. Today, digital technology is proving to be a positive disruptor, enabling emerging economies to create wealth and implement life changing digital solutions to societal challenges, through ICT innovation.
“We also appreciate the fact that the rapidly evolving communication technologies could become a means of bridging the digital divide and achieving the digital economy agenda, while ensuring ubiquitous connectivity and providing Nigerian consumers with a plethora of services that could change our economic lives for the better”, he said.
Maska, in his welcome address, posited that Nigeria is not left out in the emerging technology race. This is because the Federal Government has recently adopted a digital economic framework that will fast rack the country’s agenda to tap from the enormous potentials of the 4th industrial revolution.
He stressed that in the next 3 days NCC will be selecting the best-in-class innovative and local content focussed ideas from our tech innovators. NCC also commit to regulatory efforts towards ensuring that the selected ideas are incubated and handheld to the point of commercialisation.
“We have no doubt in our minds that home-grown innovations and solutions in ICT sector, would provide incommensurable benefits to the development of Nigeria with a multiplier effect on job and wealth creation across industries.
“It is our hope that this regulatory initiative, will serve as an inspiration and provide an avenue for the empowerment of the innovators who hold the key to unlocking the potential for local content development in the Nigerian ICT sector while striving towards the desired digital economy in Nigeria”, he addressed.
During his presentation on business plan development, innovation commercialization and Intellectual Property Protection, Prof. Francis Idachaba of the Department of Electrical & Information Engineering, Covenant University emphasized that patents enables owners reap from the benefits of his/her idea.