The 2020 Virtual Edition of the Nigeria Innovation Summit with the theme: ‘Innovating In Critical Times, organized by InnovationHub Africa, and held on October 6-8, 2020 was successfully concluded with the participation of a good number of delegates and stakeholders who connected via Zoom, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The Summit in its 5th year is an annual event that brings together stakeholders from different sectors of Nigeria’s economy to share ideas, trends, and opportunities around technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship development in Nigeria.
The three days were dedicated to promote innovation in all sectors of the economy in Nigeria.
The Summit program included; Keynote Sessions and Presentations, Innovative Showcase by startups, Innovation Management Workshops, Panel Discussions/Interactive Sessions which focused on: Deploying AI To Create Value: Challenges and Opportunities; Ideation and Innovating in Critical Times, and Building Innovation Ecosystem. There were also Start-ups and Innovative Business Presentations, and the announcing the ten innovative startups in Nigeria to watch.
Guest & Speakers
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) and Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, EVC, Nigeria Communications Commission delivered the Keynote presentations. Other speakers include Prof Tony Bailetti, Chair of the Board Nigeria-Canada Trade & Investment Group; -Professor Chika Yinka-Banjo (Univerity of Lagos), Professor Muhammad Bashir Muazu (Ahmadu Bello University), Professor Isaac Adimula (University of Ilorin), Professor Osemekhian Omoifo (University of Benin), and Professor Temi Ayorinde (University of Ibadan); Eduardo Bailetti, Founder/CEO, Scalecamp, Canada; Andrew Bourne, Business Development Manager, Africa, Zoho Corporation; Fatumata Soukouna Coker, Founder/Group President, Ygroup Holdings Inc; Bruno Woeran, Head, Research Mgt.&Tech Transfer, Paracelsus Private Medical University, Austria and Abayomi Baiyere, Assistant Professor of Digitalization at Copenhagen Business School.
Others are; Ella Togun, Program Manager, Slum2School Africa; Peter Appleton (PhD.), Visiting Prof, International Business, Norwich University, Vermont, US; Ify Malo, CEO, Clean Technology Hub; Ibrahim Maigari Ahmadu, Co-Founder/CEO, Livestock247.com; Dr Yele Okeremi, CEO, Precise Financial Systems Ltd; Navneet Bhalia, Founder/CEO, Cetana AI Inc., Ottawa, Canada; and Nicolas Bry, Innovation Booster, Orange Africa.
Observations and Recommendations
The following are the submissions and recommendations from the Summit as contained in the communique communique signed on Programme Director, Nigeria Innovation Summit, Tony Ajah as issued on October 13, 2020, reads:
* Nigeria cannot do without innovative technologies, which are characterised by emerging technologies that are driving great innovation(s), which is the power to drive economic growth and the hallmark of entrepreneurship development.
*The government should intensify in promoting the provision of efficient, available, affordable and easily accessible communications services throughout Nigeria as this will provide investment opportunities for economic growth and development in post COVID-19 era.
*New and evolving technologies are providing huge disruptions across every sector, and Nigeria needs to position herself in Africa to lead the change by facilitating strategic collaborations and partnerships among all the critical stakeholders in her innovation ecosystem. Such an ecosystem must be facilitated by the government in collaboration with the private sector, innovators, and the academics, each playing their key role to build the ecosystem.
* Since the disruptions caused by the Covid19 pandemic to the global economy, ICT has played a very important role for inclusive growth. For innovation to thrive as the anchor for accelerating economic growth, a robust broadband infrastructure upon which ICT innovations will ride is a necessity, especially for MSMEs for enhanced connectivity. NCC has continued to work assiduously with all the stakeholders in ensuring that the nation’s ICT infrastructure is able to meet the increased demand for connectivity, and this must be maintained.
*Growing the digital economy required a safer cyberspace backed by strong programmed and policies aimed at fully supporting, promoting and implementing the national digital economy agenda.
*There is a need to building innovative businesses solutions, and ecosystem development in Nigeria across all the sectors by driving innovation through promoting local content development, and also promoting locally-relevant technological solutions.
* There is need for a collaborative platform for all the key innovation actors. a digital space that decentralises innovation to leverage the increasing mobility of knowledge and innovation that will greatly impart on the socio-economic development of Nigeria as it allows Nigeria the option to leverage local innovation to solve local issues.
*Launch of Open Innovation Nigeria project, and calls for sponsorship of innovation challenges that address needs in healthcare, agriculture, fintech, energy, education, and the using Emerging Technologies to solve any other challenging problems in Nigeria on corporate, state or federal levels.
The Summit ended with the presentation of Nigeria Innovation Awards was to 10 Innovative Startups in Nigeria. Making the list were Farmcrowdy, 54gene, Flutterwave, kobo360, LifeBank, Paystack, Tizeti, PiggyVest, BuyCoins and NairaEx
The Nigeria Innovation Summit 2020 critically reviewed the state of innovation in Nigeria today, how we can move forward, as well as explore opportunities on both national and the continental levels.
It had participation from 5 continents, delegates from federal and state governments, several government agencies, representatives from several states, diplomats, academic communities and research institutes, international organisations, investors, innovators, business/thought leaders, innovators and startups and students.