By Emmanuel Elebeke
President Muhammadu Buhari has presented Awards of recognition and commendations to seven Nigerians whose Start-ups won International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and World Information Technology Society (WITS) championships/Awards in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
The highly excited Buhari said the Champions have made Nigeria proud at the global stage and their stories have become testimonies that Nigeria is capable of producing Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates in the near future.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami made the Awards presentation on behalf of President Buhari at the Digital Economy Complex, Mbora, Abuja, on Wednesday. The awards, he disclosed, involved cash prizes as well.
Pantami said the President and the Federal Government is proud of the global Awards winners in various categories in ICT and Digital Innovation sector, especially those who bagged the Awards at a time he (Pantami) Chairs the global body.
For those who won the 2022 awards, Pantami explained that 996 applications were submitted online with 360 selected for votes, while 1.3 million people voted across the world in 193 member countries for the winners to emerge.
He directed the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, and Galaxy Backbone Limited to pick the solutions that won the awards with a view to support them to become global brands.
The Minister said President Buhari is presently looking at the Start-ups Bill which would be a major achievement of the administration as it contains provisions that would transform the industry in terms of benefits, incentives, loans and grants.
“The Start-ups Bill when pass into law will become the major achievement of the digital transformation era of President Buhari because there are provisions in the Bill that will change the narratives of the sector. There will be a Council on Start-ups and Mr President as the Chairman.
“The Private sector will collaboration with government to address challenges and proffer solutions to make Nigeria produce her own Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg”, Pantami stated.
The champions are Chipsbrain Nigeria, 2020, Category 7, e-health, Mr Oluwaseyi Akinola, Women’s Techology Empowerment Centre, 2020, Category 3, access to information and knowledge, Maryam Abdulsalam, and ICT for Indigenous Language, Afrilingo, 2020, e-empowerment, Franca Igwe.
Others are Association of Women in Technology in Nigeria, Category 7, 2022, ICT applications e-empowerment, Martha Alade, and Special Needs Initiative for Growth, (Africa) , Career development initiative for mothers with cerebral palsy children in Nigeria, 2021, Category 6, enabling environment, Rachel Inegbedion.
The last two categories are: Top up &Get Reward Limited, Teleconomy, 2021, Category 2,ICT infrastructure, Mr Samuel Babatunde and Green fresh Nigeria, wizwish international farm, Category 7, e-business, Mr Wisdom Ikpechukwu.
Speaking on behalf of the winners Martha Alade commended the present administration for its passion and commitment to the growth and development of digital economy, saying Start-ups owners are inspired and overwhelmed by government dedication.