A challenge has been thrown to the youths from the South-south geopolitical region to be spirited in utilizing their God-given talents through digital innovations to become entrepreneurs and job creators.
Kashifu Inuwa, the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), represented by Dr. Salihu Abdulkareem of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), made this remark during the south-south NITDA HACKATHON challenge for young and innovative minds from the region held at the Senate Chambers of the University of Calabar.
He explained that “driving digital innovation and entrepreneurship by challenging Nigeria’s youth to create and develop solutions from inception to commercialization will, no doubt, boost the country’s economy.”
The NITDA Hackathon challenge was themed: “Innovation-Driven Ideas for addressing local challenges in Health, Government, Transportation, Financial Services and Smart city in Nigeria for Social and Economic Development.”
The DG asserted that digital innovation and entrepreneurship would help fast-track the recovery of other traditional economic sectors by supporting the provision and adoption of indigenous and tailor-made solutions for nationwide implementation of the policy through automation, intelligent processes, and ICT solutions.
He further revealed that NITDA Hackathon 2022 aims to find solutions towards building a digital Nigeria, adding that talented Nigerians are challenged to come up with clearly defined ideas and prototypes of solutions around agriculture, logistics, and security for the swift growth and development of the country.
According to Kashifu, “African continent is full of problems waiting to be solved, this presents the next biggest market worldwide. Nigeria, in particular, has a rapidly growing youthful population by which taking advantage of the market will lead to the creation of jobs, solutions, and revenue flow for the country”, he added.
The DG maintained that collective responsibility is needed to achieve the positive impacts, for which the nation yearns for solutions. He encouraged the young innovators not to relent in their various efforts towards tackling the problems bedeviling the country, saying that such solutions will go a long way in addressing development issues.
He appeals to teeming youths from the region to always showcase their talents which will serve as channels for solutions to some of the problems that require immediate panacea.
He revealed that the program also provides an avenue for young Nigerians to contribute their quota in the solution-finding and provides opportunities for creating jobs both directly and indirectly, keying into the Digital Economy policy that will facilitate the swift growth and development of the country.
Professor Florence Banji Obi, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Calabar, ably represented by Professor Idingesit Akpabio, Chairman, Committee of Deans, the University of Calabar, in her earlier remarks, appreciated NITDA for choosing the University of Calabar for the program. She commended the initiatives and the manner of their implementation across the country for the growth of our nation.
She commented that technology is changing how we do things and has fast-tracked operations processes. “Programs like this are needed to keep the young people busy solving the problems faced by the country, more so that such programs give an avenue for teeming youth to showcase their talents which will help solve those challenges,” she added.
Prof. Obi encouraged participants not to stop at solution finding after this program but to go further in actualizing what they have started, which she believes will bring about solutions to the problems faced in the country.
Winners from the pitching context received cash prizes ranging from N1.5million for the overall Winners, N1 million for the first runner ups, and N500,000 to the second runner ups as the 3-day event came to a close with fanfare and beautiful memories.