The Federal Government has directed the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Galaxy Backbone Limited and Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) to work with the seven champions of the World Summit on the Information Society Forum (WSIS) which includes the winner of WSIS 2022 so as to ensure that their innovative solutions bring global benefits.
“I want to use this opportunity on behalf of Federal government of Nigeria to direct NITDA, Galaxy Backbone and NCC to look at your solutions and identify where you need support so that the solution will not just remain as a startup, but rather we want to build the solution here and becoming the tech giant at least in the next few years and this is our ambition”, said the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, in Abuja during the recent awards presentation ceremony of WSIS Champions for 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Pantami is also the Chairman of WSIS 2022 Forum which represents the world’s largest annual gathering of the ‘ICT for development’ community. The Forum provides structured opportunities to network, learn and participate in multi-stakeholder discussions and consultations on WSIS implementation.
The minister expressed confidence that the three government institutions will be able to review and support the solutions by the startup to make them offer values beyond the shores of Nigeria.
The WSIS event recently too place in Geneva, Switzerland and had technical sessions for youths around the world where they were challenged to submit their projects covering e-health, e-agriculture, e-education and other fields.
“The heads of the technical session presented their results to me in Geneva and I am glad to say that some of our young innovators emerged as the global winners and champions”, the minister said.
He said because there was not any formal sessions for 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, the winners for the previous two years were presented their awards during WSIS 2022.
The winner for the WSIS 2022 Hackathon is Afrilingo by Franca Umasoye Igwe while the other six champions were, Association of Women in Technology in Nigeria by Martha Alade (2022); Initiative for Mothers with Cerebal Palsy Children in Nigeria by Rachael Inegbedion (2021); Top Up and Get Reward Limited by Samuel Babatunde (2021); Wizwish International Farm by Wisdom Ikpechukwu (2020); Chipsbrain by Oluwaseyi Akinolu (2020); and Makerspace Project by Oreoluwa Lesi (2020)
On the startup bill, he assured that the president will soon sign it into law.
“Furthermore we are all aware that the Federal Government through the ministry and office of the Chief of Staff to the President worked on the Nigerian Startup Bill which has already been passed by both arms of the National Assembly; we believe that in the next few days Mr President will look into it and it will become a law.
Adding: “In that bill, there are provisions of so many benefits for our young innovators and startups, like pioneer status, grants, incentives, loans and also the law when approved will establish a presidential council where Mr President will chair the council and he will be supported by the Vice President and the Minister incharge of the Digital Economy will be the vice-chair, where government, private sector and young innovators will come together; look into their challenges and Mr. President will give directives there and then for the sector to continue to be very successful.”