By Oluwatobi Opusunju
As part of efforts to develop IT capacity among Nigerian youths, the Ministry of Communications and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) are partnering the private sector to create a framework that will increase IT innovations hubs in the country.
This was revealed by the Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu yesterday in Lagos while speaking at the Nigerian Software Stakeholders Roundtable organised in conjunction with NITDA. He was represented by Director of ICT at the Ministry of Communications, Mrs. Moni Udoh.
There are about 30 tech innovation hubs in the country. This is deemed too small when compared to African countries like Kenya, South Africa and others ahead of Nigeria with greater number of innovation hubs.
Also, a recent report by the Global Innovation Index (GII) ranked Nigeria 114th out of 128 countries globally surveyed to be investing in innovation. Nigeria lags far behind countries like Mauritius, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania, and Ghana, among others.
The report also shows that Nigeria has an innovation index of 23.15 per cent and efficiency ratio of 0.57 per cent when Mauritius and South Africa, the two countries ranked highest in Africa have their GIIs put at 35.86 per cent (0.57 per cent efficiency ratio) and 35.85 per cent (0.55 per cent efficiency ratio) respectively.
However, Adebayo who reckoned that this new move will further change the narratives and drive economic growth, said the partnership will also provide the enabling environment and structured program required by Nigerian ICT entrepreneurs and software developers.
“This is why the Ministry, in conjunction with NITDA are partnering the private sector to develop a framework that will increase the number of IT innovation hubs in the country,” he disclosed.
“The Ministry in conjunction with NITDA will also provide the enabling environment and structured program where the ideas and innovation of the Nigerian ICT entrepreneurs and software developers can be incubated to successful IT businesses in Nigeria and across the region.
“We will also assist in the provision of some facilities, free software development tools, mentoring, business and technical training and business advisory services through the NITDA,” he added.