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What Nigeria must do to rise in Global Innovation Index ranking – Tony Ajah

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NIgeria Innovation Summit 2019
Tony Ajah speaking during the Nigeria Innovation Summit 2019

“The era we are in globally is characterized by emerging technologies that are driving great innovations.

“The opportunities around these new technologies are giving birth to new business models, disruptive ideas, which cut across all sectors creating enormous wealth for organizations, businesses, entrepreneurs and the nations, who understand the times, says the Programme Director, Nigeria Innovation Summit, Tony Ajah, while responding to questions from TechEconomy.ng on what Nigeria must do to grow the innovation ecosystem.

Reflecting on “Nigeria Innovation Ecosystem, Challenges and Prospects NIS Has Seen”, Ajah said that innovation is something that a country like Nigeria should seriously tap into by making innovation an integral part of her national life.

Looking at the Global Innovation Index 2020, Nigeria dropped seven points and ranks 121st from 114th position the country was in 2019, Tony Ajah said, “This is not just a mere rating but a reflection of our present reality as a country that does not invest in innovation. Again, this is a reflection of our present reality as a country that does not have the culture of innovation”.

“We have seen how innovation has elevated other countries even here in Africa such as Mauritius with Global Innovation Index of 52, South Africa (60), Kenya (86) and Tanzania (88). This is largely due to the fact that Nigeria does not invest in innovation, research and development. As a nation we must consciously work to lead other Africa countries innovation across all sectors. This is the least we can do.

“It is also important to note that innovation does not happen in isolation but needs a healthy ecosystem driven by great need for collaboration. Such an ecosystem is usually facilitated by the government in collaboration with the private sector, innovators and the academics, each playing their key role to build the ecosystem.

“We can’t live in denial anymore; the world is changing and has changed. It’s so obvious that every sector in Nigeria’s today needs disruptive ideas driven by technology and innovation. To establish this culture of innovation in our system and society, we must build strong institutions that will nurture and grow those cultures with a strong policy that will drive it.

“As an organization we have decided to contribute in creating awareness on the need for Nigeria to really embrace and invest in innovation at different levels and across different sectors of the economy. We surely know that innovation will create more jobs, it will help attract investments into the country, and therefore increase our economic growth. Indeed, innovation is the key to our socio-economic emancipation.

NIS 2020

He further call for stakeholders’ supports towards Nigeria Innovation Summit (virtual edition) holding next month ending.

He said, “For the past 5 years, we have made tremendous progress such as the depth of engagement of the critical stakeholders, providing opportunities for young innovators and entrepreneurs to heard and commercialize their innovations and business ideas, as a couple of them have through this platform received grants, among other things, and they are doing well in the ecosystem.

“We have already developed a strategic plan to harvest innovations in all geo-political zones in the country through a national wide innovation challenge, which will focus more on home grown technological innovations that are strategically designed to solve unique Nigerian problems.

“This is something we are looking at having local and international organizations, government agencies, academic community and research centers partner with us to achieve. Similar to this, we currently partner with the world’s leading innovation providers across the globe to connect Nigerian businesses and innovators to global innovation ecosystems. We believe that all these will help Nigeria to move in the direction of true digital and technological transformation”.

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