By Na’ankwat Dariem
The Minister of Communications Dr. Isa Pantami has emphasised the need for mentorship of young innovators to avoid mistakes and to be able to invest wisely for Information Communication Technology, ICT’s growth in the Nigeria.
Mr. Pantami stated this at the ongoing 39th Edition of the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition, GITEX, holding in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Nigeria’s participation in GITEX, which was initiated by the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, is a week long programme from October 6 to 10.
Pantami said that some of the young innovators just carry out Research and Development, R&D, without ascertaining indigenous needs of the people.
“Nigerian youths have crazy creative ideas, which if they have the mentorship needed, mistakes can be avoided, they will save time and cost,” he said.
He said Research and Development was critical and needed by young innovators to identify areas for research that would help the common man.
“When we do research, we need policy for implementation,” Pantami said.
The Minister also applauded the creativity of young innovators in Nigeria, saying ICT startups need funding to grow and develop their ideas, explaining that it is the responsibility of government agencies to support them.
According to Pantami, if the country must develop through home grown technology there is a collaborative need to invest in startups.
He further explained that the country had over 200 clusters of citizens with more than 40 million people yet to access internet broadband penetration.
In view of this ,Dr. Pantami noted that the government was making every effort to improve on the country’s broadband penetration, which has the capacity to contribute immensely to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
He said there was an ongoing process of automating systems of government for economic growth.
“We are trying to automate e-governance through upgrading National Identity to digital form.
“We have less than 45 million people with digital identification and we need digital penetration to increase the number.
“With digital identification which we hope to increase to 80 per cent by the end of the year, there will be improved economy, citizens can access health care services and life made easier for Nigerians,” the Minister said.
10 Nigerian ICT startups sponsored by National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, are in GITEX, to showcase their innovations and also seek investors to develop their products.
GITEX is a global technology exhibition that brings together over 200,000 trade visitors, investors, innovators, countries, IT companies among other participants from over 145 countries of the world to share trends of ICT and ways of advancing technology innovations.