Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi has urged players across the Nigerian technology landscape to embrace collaboration as it is the key to the growth of the industry.
Abdullahi, who made this submission while delivering his keynote address at the recently concluded 2022 edition of the Gage Company’s international tech exhibition— CoCreate themed “collaborative innovations for a better tomorrow” explained that innovation doesn’t happen in isolation, instead, it requires the collaborative efforts of everyone in the ecosystem.
He said: “In Nigeria we have so many problems for which we need innovative ways to solve them; and collaboration is very important because innovation cannot succeed in isolation, it is about the ecosystem. That is why I see this event as key to the success of all of us, and the theme is very exciting as it talks about collaborative innovation for a better tomorrow and that is what we need.”
“If you look around the world, innovation doesn’t happen evenly, it is not evenly distributed, it happens in clusters, and what is so unique about the clusters? it is the ecosystem.”
According to the NITDA Chairman, the one of the major mandates of the current administration is to create policies and regulations that will serve as a level playing field for the excellence of the tech ecosystem.
Abdullahi added: “The approach of this government since it came on board was to CoCreate. Whatever we do, we don’t do it in isolation, we work with the ecosystem to CoCreate the policy, to CoCreate the regulation, whatever we do, we do it together. Because we believe there are things that you can go outside the ecosystem to do, that the government cannot do, and there things that only the government can do, and you can’t do. But together we can do greater things, that is why we are here together to CoCreate the future of the tech ecosystem.”
The Chairman explained that for the ecosystem to reach a global standard, there are five key stakeholders.
He pointed: “When we talk about the ecosystem, there are five key stakeholders that are required to make it work. First we have the innovators. Second, the entrepreneurs; they are the ones with the guts to start and grow a business, the ideas to solve problems and provide solutions. Third, you need the human capital developers, the universities, the people that have that talent; because when you talk about innovation or digital economy, it is about talent. That is the human component of the technology.”
Abdullahi continued: “Then you need the government, the government is an enabler. The government is the one to provide an enabling environment. The government will intervene in terms of policy, in terms of infrastructure in served and underserved communities. We also need the capitals, people with money, that can give you money to grow your startup. One of the major challenge we are having in Nigeria, every startup needs a seed fund from government and we know this is not scaleable. Government cannot provide seed funding for everyone. But we have people with money, which if you can convince them they can invest in it. So we need to develop that venture capital. Then we need corporate organizations because they are the ones that will buy the products. So if we can get these five stakeholders in an ecosystem, we can have an excellent tech ecosystem in our country.”
The NITDA Chairman was also honored with an Award of Recognition for his exemplary impact and footprint in the Nigerian tech industry.
He shared: “For me it is always an honor and privilege to be in your midst because I always feel at home when I find myself in the tech and innovation ecosystem. I call it a home because this is a sector I always orient to, and it is the first point of origin where I set my career bearing. And I still use it to navigate my career map.”
On his part, urging the industry on the same premise of collaboration, Convener, Gage Awards said: “Collaboration is key. When people come together, they are able to come up with different components of tech that will serve as interesting solutions to our evident problems. With CoCreate 2022, we hope to have a system in place that will now spark up those interesting collaborations and innovations that will drive the growth of technology in Nigeria.”