In line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria, Kashifu Inuwa, the director-general, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has said that driving digital innovation and entrepreneurship by challenging Nigeria’s youth to create and develop solutions from inception to commercialization will boost the country’s economy.
Inuwa disclosed this at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State Capital during the closing ceremony of a 3-day South West Edition of the 9th NITDA Hackathon Challenge organized by the Agency’s subsidiary, the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR).
The theme of the challenge is “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 who was represented by Dr Salihu Abdulkareem 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, smart processes and ICT solutions.
Inuwa further revealed that NITDA Hackathon 2022 is aimed at finding solutions towards building a digital Nigeria. He added that talented Nigerians are challenged to come up with clearly defined ideas and prototypes on solutions around agriculture, logistics and security for the swift growth and development of the country.
“African continent is a den of problems waiting to be solved and presents the next biggest market worldwide. In particular, Nigeria 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.
While stressing the need to come together and find solutions to the diverse problems we face because government alone cannot handle them, the DG maintained that collective responsibility is needed to achieve the positive impacts the nation yearns for
The DG further encouraged 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 issues of development, appealing to teeming youths 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 also provides opportunities for the creation of jobs both directly and indirectly, keying into the Digital Economy policy that will facilitate the swift growth and development of the country.
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Professor Kayode Oyebode Adebowale, represented by Professor Olapegba, Chairman Geo-Hackathon, University of Ibadan, in his earlier remarks appreciated NITDA for the diverse programs and initiatives been implemented across the country for growth of our nation. This is changing the way things are done and has fast-tracked the processes of operations.
Programs like this are things that are needed to curb the problems being faced in the country, simply because such programs give an avenue for young teeming youth to showcase their talents which will help solve such dilemmas, he added.
Prof. Olapegba encouraged participants not to stop at solution finding after this program, but to go further towards the actualization of what they have started which will bring about solutions to the problems being faced in the country.
Part of the highlights of the NCAIR – backed hackathon event was the presentation of cash prizes of N1.5million, N1 million, and N500,000 to the winner, first runner up and second runner respectively.