… As NITDA bags DWTC award
Beyond the six technology entrepreneurs currently showcasing their products at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) 2018, there is now funding hope on the horizon for many technology start-ups in Nigeria. This was the result of a well-packaged investment forum organised by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) at the global technology show, where the Nigerian delegation took turns to advertise huge potentials for investments in the country’s ICT sector to potential investors from across the world.
Funding has been a major challenge confronting many start-ups in the country, however, investors from across the world have indicated interest in exploring the potentials in Nigeria ICT ecosystem, especially, start-ups. Specifically, a Venture Capital (VC) currently based in Mauritius, ArifSaiyad & Associados Ventures, with a $15 million fund for African start-ups has expressed interest in investing part of the fund on Nigerian start-ups. Founder and CEO of the VC, Mr Arif Sayad, said he had seen a lot of potentials in Nigeria and would be looking viable start-ups in the country to invest part of the VC fund in.
Another VC from Egypt, Endure Capital also expressed satisfaction with Nigeria’s pitch at the investor forum, adding that Nigeria is a place to be for the venture. Partner at the company, Waleed Khalil said the company would be partnering with other companies in Nigeria to invest in start-ups.
Other investors who listened to pitches from the six Nigerian start-ups in Dubai were impressed by the innovations of the young entrepreneurs and promised to engage them further to see how they could partner with them.\
NITDA in its bid to grow the ICT sector with local capacity has been empowering tech start-ups in many ways. Part of such efforts is the international exposures being given to the young entrepreneurs by sponsoring them to GITEX and other international events. This year, the agency had sponsored six start-ups, each from the geo-political zones in the country to participate Future Stars event holding alongside GITEX.
In his opening speech at the forum, the Director General of NITDA, Dr Isa Pantami , highlighted the potentials and opportunities in Nigeria for investors. According to him, Nigeria has a ready pool of young “digital natives” awaiting investors in the ICT sector. “With a population having an average age of 18.2 years, Nigeria is the 22nd youngest country on earth. The youthfulness of our population is an asset and the fact that many young Nigerians are ICT enthusiasts even makes it better. Investors can be assured of accessing a large pool of youthful and skilful employees at a fair-price, more cost-effective than engaging employees in other parts of the world” he said.
“Innovation is part of our DNA as Nigerians and there are several stories of innovation across the globe that has the imprint of Nigerians. HopStop, an online city transit App acquired by Apple for a whopping $1billion, was owned by a Nigerian-born Entrepreneur. In August 2018, a team of Nigerian teenagers won the first place in the junior division of the Technovation World Pitch Summit that took place in Silicon Valley. A Nigerian entrepreneur also developed Mekamon, the world’s first gaming robot, with the special ability to customize the gaming bot to perform personalized functions. He got a dream deal with Apple pricing each unit at $300 and putting them in nearly all their stores in the United States and the United Kingdom” Pantami added.
He pointed out that while African startups raised $560 million in 2017, Nigerian startups accounted for $114.6 million of the amount. “These investments and stories of innovation underscore the viability of the Nigerian startups and the capacity of Nigerians to conceive ingenious ideas. We invite you, our potential investors, to take advantage of this massive talent pool as you invest in Nigeria” he said.
Giving a total assurance to the potential investors, members of National Assembly present at the forum said they would do everything possible to terms of legislation to ensure that investors enjoy smooth operation in Nigeria. According to the Vice Chairman Senate Committee on ICT, Senator Foster Ogola, the lawmakers would be ready for suggestions on any area requiring legislation to address challenges confronting investors in the country.
Meanwhile, the organisers of GITEX, Dubai World Trade Centre have commended NITDA for its consistency in promoting ICT development in Nigeria. This feat earned the agency the DWTC award which was presented to NITDA’s DG at the end of the Africa Investment Forum in Dubai. According to DWTC has been playing significant roles in in the growth of ICTs in Nigeria and deserved a commendation.
-Culled from New Telegraph
Digital Economy: NITDA launches ‘Smart Agric Platform’ to create jobs
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has launched a platform Smart Agro Business to connect Nigerians who are interested in investing in agro business.
The Director General of the Agency, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE said that Smart Agro Platform comprises of farmers, government agencies, agric experts, banks and micro-lenders, extension services, hardware solution providers, software developers, customers, marketplace, among others across the agric value chain.
He said, “This project was conceived in order to support Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami’s focus especially in making his dream reality towards turning the country into digital-driving economy and ensure the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is end hunger and achieve good security by 2030.
The DG further noted that Smart Agro is the beginning of a transformation in the agriculture sector to enable farmers contribute effectively to the digital economy of Nigeria and create jobs for the teeming youths.
“What we did is to rethink agriculture differently, by creating a digital platform that will connect the Agric ecosystem and enable the possibility of new business models by the private sector which will, in turn, generate new products and services and create value across the Agric value chain,” he said.
He added that, “NITDA Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA) is a project conceived to create about 6 million jobs in the next 5 to 10 years through our technology platform.
According to NITDA desk officer department of e-Government development and regulation Lukman Lamid the idea is to support 25 graduates in each of the 774 LGAs on modern agric methods, give them the resources and the right technology to enable them to manage their farms from planting to harvesting and marketing.
“This pilot phase is a proof of concept which had witnessed selection, training and support of 15 graduates in Gombe state on modern farming methods in collaboration with National Agriculture Extension and Research Liaison Services (NAERLS).
“We have developed a digital platform in which its mobile app components will continue to serve NITDA supported farmers, any other farmer and all the ecosystem members when it is fully ready.
Lamid noted that ability to get information to monitor farms in real-time and connect with resources to manage farm effectively will improve crop yield, quality of farm produce per block of land and profit for these farmers.
“In the future, we would deploy and integrate smart technologies such as IoT on the platform to improve the accuracy and the processes of getting information in real-time, integrate with GIS technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Big data analytics among other emerging technologies to add more value to the platform.
Lamid stated that the innovation is a product of research paper “Towards Diversification of Nigeria Economy through Smart Agriculture” published by the Minister in June 2017 in International Journal of Computer Science and Information Technology Research.
Sowore: US senator flays FG, says Nigeria has no regards for rule of law
Robert Menendez, a US senator from New Jersey and member of the senate foreign relations committee, says the events surrounding the rearrest of Omoyele Sowore shows that Nigeria no longer has regards for the rule of law.
On Friday, operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) rearrested Sowore, convener of #RevolutionNow Movement, and Olawale Bakare, an activist, at the federal high court in Abuja less than 24 hours after they were released on the orders of the court.
There were rearrested less than 24 hours after their release after spending 124 days in detention.
Menendez, who said it seems President Muhammadu Buhari is not aware of what the secret police is “doing in his name”, added that Sowore ought to be celebrated and not incarcerated.
He said the development is unacceptable from a country that practices democracy, pushing for a reassessment of the bilateral relations between Nigeria and US.
“The United States is watching and the world is watching. I fear that the blatant harassment of Mr Omoyele Sowore, an activist and journalist whose only crime appears to be exercising his right to free expression, is becoming symptomatic of increasingly closing political and civic space in Nigeria,” Menendez said.
“The Nigerian court has twice ordered his release on bail. And the state security agencies openly defied the court order each time leaving me to conclude that either Nigeria no longer respects the rule of law or President Buhari is woefully out of touch with what agents of his governments are doing in his name.
“This is unacceptable in a country that calls itself a democracy. Journalists who risk their lives to expose the truth should be celebrated, not incarcerated.
“It is unacceptable to that the husband and father of a US citizen with such blatant cruelty. Today, my office contacted our ambassador in Nigeria in an effort to obtain answers on what actions the United States is taking on the Sowore family’s behalf.
“In the next several days, I’ll continue to engage with the states department in Washington to ascertain the impart of what the arrest of Mr Sowore and other activists and journalists will have on our relationship with Nigeria. My hope is that the bilateral relationship we have with Nigeria will be reassessed in light of these events.”
Last month, the lawmaker had written a letter to Sylvanus Nsofor, Nigeria’s ambassador to US, over the crack down on journalists and activists”.
Edo Assembly declares 12 seats vacant
Edo State House of Assembly on Wednesday declared 12 seats in the assembly vacant.
The seats declared vacant are those of members-elect who have refused to present themselves for inauguration into the 7th Assembly and two others who did not meet the mandatory sitting requirement to continue as members of the House.
The Speaker of the House, Mr Francis Okiye, said even if the affected members decided to resume, they would not be able to meet the mandatory 180 sitting days as enshrined in the constitution.
The affected 12 members-elect are Vincent Uwadiae- Ovia North-East 2; Ugiagbe Dumez -Ovia North-East 1; Washington Osifo-Uhunmwode; Victor Edoror-Esan Central; Kingsley Ugabi- Etsako East; and Michael Ohio-Ezomo Owan West.
Others are Sunday Aghedo-Ovia South-West; Chris Okaeben-Oredo West; Crosby Eribo-Egor: Aliyu Oshiomhole-Etsako West 2; Oshomah Ahmed -Etsako Central and Ganiyu Audu-Etsako West 1.
Okiye, while declaring the seats vacant, said the 12 members-elect refused to come forward to process the necessary documentation as part of the condition for their inauguration.
He said, “12 out of the 24 members-elect who completed their screening and documentation process were inaugurated on June 17, 2019 out of which two of them have refused to discharge their legislative duties.
“They have refused to represent their constituents in the House, invariably denying their constituents effective representation.
“At this point, I am declaring the seats of the 12 members-elect vacant in accordance with Section 109 Subsection 1F of the constitution.”
Okiye thereafter called on the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct by-elections for the affected constituencies within 90 days.
The Deputy Speaker of the House, Mr Yekini Idiaye, representing Akoko Edo State Constituency I, said the lawmakers arrived at the decision to declare the seats vacant following over 100 petitions and protests from the people of the constituencies who complained of neglect as a result of lack of representation by the members-elect.
But the spokesman of the affected lawmakers-elect, Mr Washington Osifo, said the action of the assembly was laughable.
He said, “It is a laughing matter because the matter is before the court and when a matter is before the court, such action is sub judice.
“We are challenging the illegal inauguration of the House and anything put on nothing cannot stand. So, Okiye is a man that is in search of identity, he is working with the governor in the pursuit of a blind ambition, they have hit the rock.”
He said the House also passed the 2020 Appropriation Bill and affirmed the removal of the suspended Chairman of Etsako East Local Government Area, Alhaji Aramiyau Momoh.
Other matter considered at the sitting, according to him, was the confirmation of the members of the board of the Edo State Internal Revenue Service.
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