Science & Tech
NITDA begins application process for MassChallenge programme
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has announced the opening of the application process for the Bridge to MassChallenge Nigeria Programme (B2MC).
Mrs Hadiza Umar, Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations of the agency, said this on Tuesday in a statement she signed in Abuja.
It could be recalled that early in the year, NITDA signed a partnership arrangement with MassChallege, a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators.
The partnership was aimed at stimulating economic vitality and job creation in Nigeria by catalysing entrepreneurial activity and supporting entrepreneurs as they develop and execute on game-changing ideas, digital technologies and discoveries.
Umar said the commencement of the application process followed a stakeholder engagement with key players in the ecosystem, which included the government, academia, entrepreneurs, corporate organisations, the media and influencers.
Mr Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General of NITDA, speaking at the official launch of the application process said a vibrant startup ecosystem was highly critical to the future of Nigeria and vital to finding solutions to the numerous challenges of the country.
“Innovation is a prominent way of creating prosperity for all and lifting countries out of poverty.
“NITDA and MassChallenge have continued to partner in this new initiative to foster the growth and success of the country’s startup ecosystem in line with the vision of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for a Digital Nigeria,” he said.
Mrs Siobhan Dullea, CEO of MassChallenge, also in the statement said “MassChallenge is excited to be working with NITDA to help entrepreneurs in Nigeria grow locally while having access to the MassChallenge global network.
“We look forward to working with NITDA to continue to support and grow the Nigerian innovation ecosystem.”
Umar said that interested applicants and those wishing to learn more about the programme were encouraged to visit the B2MC Nigeria website.
She said that the applications for the B2MC Nigeria programme would close on Sept. 24.
She added that the application was open to entrepreneurs who wanted to take their businesses to the next level, while early-stage and growth-stage startups from all over the country working on innovative solutions from any industry were encouraged to apply.
“Successful applicants will participate in an intensive, four-month programme that encompasses both online and in-person portions where startups develop and implement project plans to further their localisation journeys.
“They will also receive tailored mentoring and coaching offered by NITDA and other local mentors, local and global mentors of the MassChallenge network and the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Umar said.
MassChallenge is a global network of zero-equity startup accelerators with its headquarter in U.S.
MassChallenge is committed to strengthening the global innovation ecosystem by supporting high-potential startups across all industries, from anywhere in the world.(NAN)
Science & Tech
STI can help Nigeria diversify economy– D-G
Director- General of National Centre for Technology Management, (NACETEM), Dr John Omimakinde said with Science, Technology and Innovations (STI), Nigeria can transform from over dependence on oil revenue to a diversified economy.
Omimakinde said this at the 2023 STI Expo in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said that, if the STI sector was well harnessed, it would be a panacea to a strongly diversified Nigeria economy.
” For decades, scholars, policy makers, academics and practitioners have been engaged in heated debates that Nigeria’s development challenge is the ‘oil curse’.
“It is believed that the bane of development is the over dependence on a mono-product, crude oil.
“Recent happenings in the country have shown that Nigeria’s major development challenge is not the ‘oil curse’, but of not achieving economic diversification beyond it’s dependence on oil revenue,” Omimakinde said.
The NACETEM D-G confirmed that successive governments had looked beyond oil by shifting their attention to areas such as agriculture and the informal sector, among others, which yielded substantial results.
Omimakinde acknowledged that actualising the objective of successfully diversifying Nigeria’s economy beyond what was presently operational required looking in the direction of STI.
“NACETEM as a foremost knowledge support and policy research institution is convinced that the current STI policy can put us in the right direction.
“All we need to achieve sustainable development and diversification of Nigeria’s economy is contained therein, but it appears we have not fully deployed it appropriately.
“This has to change as implementing the STI policy as reviewed in 2022 will set Nigeria on the path of wealth,” he said.
Mrs Monilola Udoh, Permanent Secretary of the STI Ministry, assured that President Muhammadu Buhari had reaffirmed his commitment to his pledge allocating 0.5 per cent of GDP to funding research and innovations.
She said the Federal Government was actually funding researches which are domiciled in the ministry.
Udoh decried the lack of synergy among research institutes and others.
She also said: ”There were duplications of research works being carried out,” and urged for adequate communications, collaborations and cooperation among government agencies for value addition.
Mr Haastrup Olatunji, Chairman of NACETEM Governing Board, corroborated that Nigeria ran a mono-cultural economy as 85 per cent of her revenue was derived from oil and gas export.
He said: ”Naysayers may see that as not being good because of perceived neglect of other sectors of the economy.
“It is important to stress that lamenting the situation will bring us no good
“Rather, thinking through how to better the lot of Nigeria is what we require.
“STI is relevant to all sectors of the economy, it is an enabler of rapid growth and development,”Olatunji said.(NAN)
Science & Tech
GOOGLE EQUIANO SEA CABLE SYSTEM LANDS IN LAGOS
•It will generate 1.6m jobs, $10b GDP for Nigeria, says Sanwo-Olu
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Thursday witnessed the virtual landing of the Google Equiano Sea Cable System in Nigeria, saying the country will enjoy a boost of 1.6 million jobs and $10 billion in additional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next three years, on account of the new cable system.
He said with the landing of the sea cable system and other investments in high-speed internet, Lagos is about to witness an unprecedented digital revolution that will cement its global reputation as a hub for entrepreneurial innovation.
Speaking at the reception marking the landing of the Equiano Sea Cable System in Nigeria on Thursday at the Open Access Data Centre at Lekki in Lagos, Governor Sanwo-Olu said the new cable system is the latest element in the transformation of the physical infrastructure landscape, new roads, bridges, jetties, factories, municipal and national rail lines, among others being delivered by his administration and a host of partners and stakeholders across public and private sectors.
The landing of Equiano Sea Cable System will firmly position Nigeria as the regional connectivity and content hub for West Africa, attracting cloud operators, content providers, content distribution networks and their associated ecosystems.
It is significant and a demonstration of the seriousness with which Google LLC views Nigeria, the economic and demographic giant of Africa.
The new cable system is named after a Nigerian hero, Olaudah Equiano, who survived enslavement in the 18th century and went on to become a famous writer and anti-slavery activist.
Governor Sanwo-Olu said his administration is more than ever determined to deliver on its promise to make and maintain Lagos as a safe, livable, innovative and prosperous megacity.
He said: “I am told that this new Equiano cable system, landing today, will deliver twenty times as much network capacity as any of the existing systems serving Nigeria.
“This means much faster internet speed, reduced cost, and greater access for our people. The net effect of this is much-needed jobs and economic growth. The economic impact assessment for the project estimates that Nigeria will enjoy a boost of 1.6 million jobs and 10 billion dollars in additional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the next three years, on account of the new cable system.
“There is much to be excited about, at a time like this in the unfolding history of Lagos State and of Nigeria. We are seeing an unprecedented inflow of investments into every part of Lagos, from local and foreign investors who understand the immense business and commercial potential that the State symbolises.
“We say it often, that wherever Lagos goes, Nigeria and West Africa follow. With this in mind, as the government of Lagos State, we are more than ever determined to deliver on our promise to make and maintain Lagos as a safe, livable, innovative and prosperous megacity.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu also commended Google LLC, the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) and other investors for identifying with his administration’s vision for a truly 21st century Lagos and a megacity all will forever be proud of.
“I congratulate Google LLC for envisioning this huge project, and the West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) for helping implement it to the highest levels of excellence. Your partnership is commendable, and should be seen as a model by other players in the ecosystem, a testament to how much can be achieved when synergy is pursued.
“In addition to this cable system, I am told that WIOCC is presently completing, on this same site, a Tier III certified, Open Access Data Centre, which will also host the landing station for the Equiano cable. This data centre will be the most client-centric data centre, and the largest data center campus, in West Africa,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of WIOCC, Chris Wood, described the landing of the submarine cables as a major investment for Nigeria’s digital economy and Lagos State in particular.
He said the submarine cables will deliver high-speed internet connectivity at a reduced cost
Wood also appreciated Governor Sanwo-Olu for providing an enabling environment for the investment of this nature to birth in Lagos State.
Science & Tech
FEC Approves Science, Technology And Innovation Policy
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the revised Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy instituted 10 years ago.
Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, disclosed this on Wednesday while briefing State House reporters on the outcome of the virtual FEC meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, the approval shows the Federal Government’s commitment to improving the standard of living of Nigerians.
“We believe that this will help our country to keep narrowing the gap between us and the technologically advanced countries of the world.
We should be able also to overtake the way nations like China have done,” the minister said.
“There’ve been tremendous advances in science, technology, and innovation all over the world and this necessitated the need for our science, technology and innovation policy which was put in place in 2012, 10 years ago, to be revised so that we can keep pace with new and emerging technologies.
“The main objective is for us to use science, technology, and innovation, to improve the standard of living of our citizens and ensure that we have a high quality of life for all Nigerians.
And this we can get if our nation becomes more prosperous, and our economy is more globally competitive.
“Again, we’ll like to see Nigeria using this policy, to be one of the top scientific powers in the world.
We believe that this will help our country to keep narrowing the gap between us and the technologically developed countries of the world.”
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