Plateau state in central Nigeria is seeking the assistance of the UK government for the establishment of the Joseph Gomwalk Innovation Hub.
The hub is part of a larger strategy to build digital skills in young people and encourage technology investment into the state of over four million people as inked in the blueprint for Silicon Plateau .
While speaking at the recent first Nigeria Technical Conference on the Right of Way (RoW) administration, Governor Simon Bako Lalong said the state has identified ICT as a veritable tool to build capacity in young peoples’ ability to be fully functional in the digital economy.
His words: “We are equipping our youths with skills and placing them in jobs across the country. The first exercise has proven very successful and it is in this light that we are soliciting for support from both local and international partners in the establishment of the Joseph Gomwalk Innovation Hub to kickstart the era of Digital innovation and improved startup culture in Plateau State.”
The virtual forum was organised by United Kingdom (UK) Prosperity Fund’s Digital Access Programme and Greenfields Law in collaboration with Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.
Lalong told senior officials of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) at the virtual forum that the state is focused on building a new digital economy fostered on young people.
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According to Lalong, Plateau has steadily mobilized resources and willpower to encourage ICT capacity building in the belief that technology holds the ace to improve lives, enhance governance and create new career opportunities for youths.
He stressed that his administration has deliberately encouraged digital innovation and improved startup culture in Plateau state through initiative such as the ‘Code Plateau.
“While looking at the enormous opportunities that high internet penetration would bring, it is also important to mention that my government is investing in digital skills training under the flagship called “Code Plateau”.
He added: “Permit me to mention also that Plateau State became the first State in Nigeria to have a local government managed innovation hub that is experimenting with rural digital access.”
Plateau pioneers RoW reforms
Plateau state is one of the pioneer states in RoW reforms as bases to lower rollout cost of connectivity infrastructures to spur innovations and growth in the tech ecosystem.
“It is also very vital to restate that our strategy is simple, we have reduced the rate of the right of way in Plateau state to bolster the digital economy while concurrently preparing our youth with the skills required to tap into this economy.
“Our goal is that before we leave office, we would like to have most, if not all our governance processes driven by information and communication technologies,” said Lalong at the zoom conference organised by United Kingdom (UK) Prosperity Fund’s Digital Access Programme and Greenfields Law in collaboration with Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.
Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, presented the keynote on: ‘Right of Way Reforms: Unlocking Nigeria’s Inclusive Digital Economy.’
Osondu C. Nwokoro, Managing Counsel of Greenfields Law, appointed as consultants to the UK Government’s Prosperity Fund‘s Digital Access Programme, said the forum offered a rare platform to “identify pragmatic policy, legal and regulatory right of way and site build approval processes for adoption by all governments in Nigeria.”