Date: 3rd August, 2019.
By: Ahmad Muhammad Ahmad
The National Communications Commission (NCC) a two-day symposium on the 14th and 15th of August 2019 to discuss emerging technologies, research and ICT innovation. The event’s theme was ‘Developing Nigeria’s Tech Eco-system: Imperative for Improving Local Content’. Five members of the Kano hub of the Global Shapers Community graced the occasion as resource persons and participants.
The event which featured key players/stakeholders from the government, academia, industry and tech hubs is in line with the Commission’s commitment to promoting ICT innovation and investment opportunities and facilitating strategic collaboration and partnership.
The first day witnessed a paper presentation and panel discussions on different challenges hindering the development of Information Technology, especially in northern Nigeria. Different stakeholders including Kano Hub’s Maryam Gwadabe and Salihu Tanko Yakasai who were on the second and third panels respectively spoke on their personal experiences and way forward with regards to the development of ICT in Nigeria. Much of the solutions proffered revolved around political will from the government and improved policies to ensure technology and tech hubs thrive; improved curriculum right from primary school to inculcate tech culture into kids from the get-go and emphasis on the practical application of technology at higher levels of learning; and increased patronage of local content.
There was a breakout session on the second day where participants were divided into three groups each to focus on a particular panel discussion. Kano Hub’s Ahmad Muhammad Ahmad presented Group 1’s recommendations. The group’s deliberation bordered around Panel 1’s discussion point – ‘Innovation Hubs as Fulcrum of Local Content Development, Digital Inclusion and Wealth Creation, Employment and National Economic Development.’ Maryam Gwadabe and Najib Idris featured in Group 2 while Aysha Tofa was in Group 3.
The recommendations Group 1 proffered centered around:
A. Funding, hub structure, and partnership – there’s a need for synergy and partnership between hubs and relevant government agencies (National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), NCC, etc) and academia. Also, funding hubs through loans cannot work, the government needs to provide better grants and partnerships in addition to, or in place of loans perhaps through crowdfunding/venture capitalist. These grants could be monetary, in the form of infrastructure provision or research and development. Hubs should also strategically place themselves in society through awareness.
B. Local content – hubs should focus more on providing solutions to local problems. Furthermore, there’s a need for a local apps directory and local platforms for app development.
C. Digital inclusion – there should be massive advocacy and training in rural areas through innovation hubs.
D. Employment and National development – hubs should market and commercialize their ideas through a partnership with academia and relevant stakeholders. This will ultimately increase their revenue.
Other groups made their presentations after which certificates were presented to the participants and the forum was declared closed.
Kano hub is committed to improving utilization of information and communication technology in order to improve our community’s ability to partake in the 4th industrial revolution, in addition to being invested in the empowerment of youth with relevant work and entrepreneurship skills.