Nigeria’s IT clearinghouse, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is in talks with the Research, Technology and Innovation (RTI) division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) to explore ways of promoting the development of emerging technologies as a push for Nigeria’s active participation in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).

Collaboration is required to build strategic initiatives in achieving a sustainable digital economy to prepare for the 4IR, said Director General, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi during a recent visit by the IT regulatory agency to the NNPC Corporate Headquarters in Abuja where Abdullahi and his team interacted with the NNPC-RTI team headed by the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Mrs. Betty A. Ugona.

Part of the objectives of the meeting was to review collaborative initiatives the two agencies are working on and to further deepen their relationship by mutually harnessing creative ideas to achieve their respective mandates within the framework of national development, said the NITDA’s boss.

He added that for any innovative tech company to thrive, it needs to be actively involved in the technological ecosystem and have a good relationship with the relevant stakeholders.

According to him, stakeholders include the universities where human capital are groomed; entities like NITDA and NNPC who absorb these human capital and upskill them for innovative ideas; the entrepreneurs who process the ideas and evolve them; the risk or venture capitals who basically fund the conceptualization of these ideas and lastly, the government who come as intervention in terms of policies, infrastructure and enabling environment to actualize these ideas.

It is necessary to join all these stakeholders together in a connective web and platform to improve digital technology which was why the agency engaged the Mass Challenge, a global, zero equity startup accelerators in the United States of America that will collaborate and strengthen innovations from the technological ecosystem.

Abdullahi said although the agency is collaborating with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, the Central Bank of Nigeria among many others who have grants for startup innovations, their engagement of Mass Challenge is also an avenue to gain support through startup innovation funding.

He expressed conviction that collaboration with the NNPC-RTI will further strengthen the startup ecosystem, deepen the strategic innovations the agency was already working including the designed services the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics will be offering.

Ugona the NNPC-RTI was opened to expand the portfolio of collaborations with the NITDA.  Created June 16, 2020, the NNPC-RTI is saddled with championing technology research to further deepen the impact of the NNPC on Nigerians through leveraging technologies. She expressed optimism that the extensive strategic collaboration with NITDA will better help the NNPC to achieve the mandate for which the RTI was set up.

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