As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark this year Innovation and Creativity Day, the honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami has revealed what the future holds for country in the area of digital creativity and innovation.

The Minister disclosed that, “It is indeed really encouraging that in Nigeria our future in digital creativity and innovation is very bright. There is no doubt about this. If you look at the ideas that are coming up from the discussion. Our young innovators that pitch today the quality of the presentation before originality of the presentation and many more. It is indeed very clear that our future in digital innovation is very bright.”

Dr Pantami noted this today in his remarks as special guest of honour during the activities lined up to mark the day which was coincident with the Week the national Inofronation Technology Development Agency was established.

He recounted that many Nigerians start-ups are blazing the trails at the global level from the innovations they are coming up with which he described as encouraging. He added that the country would always provide the necessary enablement and support for the start-ups in in digital innovation ecosystem.

He said, “it is gratifying to hear that a Nigerian start-up invented an application that was sold to Apple Incorporation for 1 billion USD and also in 2019, another Nigerian emerged first in Artificial Intelligence category at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition in Dubai, United Arab Emirate with cash price of 10, 000USD.

While acknowledging various innovations the competition received for the event, the minister stated that the he was impressive with the solutions they have come up and the way and manner they pitched the problems they could solve adding that right mentorship and supports would be given to them. 

“I have been informed officially that eight hundred participants participated in this challenge, out of them, the best five had been chosen and they are going to be awarded today, each and every one of them is going to be given two million Naira by the federal government of Nigeria through the National Information Technology Development Agency. So five of them collectively they are going to receive ten million naira in addition to a letter of commendation to be signed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.“

He said the winners would also be absorbed in NITDA”s Innovations and Rntrepreneurship Scheme.

In his remarks, the Director-General, NITDA Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, CCIE seized the occasion to speak on the vital role innovations plays in the growth and development of a nation’s economy.

“Innovation is a vital key to the prosperity of any nation, and our prospects for future economic growth largely hinges on our ability to innovate.”

He stated that “Innovations, particularly market-creating innovations, have the potential to transform nations and lift them out of poverty. Market-creating innovation pulls infrastructure and investments that can transform the economy and create prosperity.”

Mallam Inuwa maintained that, the Nigerian digital innovation space is making waves on the African continent. 

He cited  a report by the Startup Genome and a survey on Nigerian Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) that supports the claims.

He said, “There are about 6,500 MSMEs, some in the digital sector with Lagos having about 700 digital innovation registered businesses worth over $2 billion. It is also noteworthy that Nigeria has a bustling fintech ecosystem, with over 200 fintech, global attention and venture capital investment.”

He noted that as part of the implementation of National, Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, the Agency has identified innovation as a great tool that would enhance the implementation.

“At NITDA, we have identified innovation as a critical tool for implementing National Digital Economic Policy and Strategy. We have taken bold steps to drive our nation’s prosperity by boosting digital innovation and entrepreneurship.”

He listed key initiatives designed by the Agency  to support the innovation ecosystem to include Technology Entrepreneurship and Innovation Support (TIES) Scheme, Bridge Mass Challenge Nigeria and MIT-REAP Abuja. “Another laudable project we initiated is the Entrepreneurship Mentoring Initiative (EMI), designed to provide mentorship services to Nigerian innovators and entrepreneurs,” he added.

“Our drive towards building a robust framework and infrastructure to bolster technology innovation for all Nigerians has the firm and usual support of the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami,“ Inuwa stated.

The highlight of the event was the presentation of the cheque award of 2 million naira each to the five winners that emerged from the competition out of the 800 innovative entries submitted by Nigerians.

The theme of this year’s World Innovation and Creativity day is “Inspiring Creativity & Innovation in Nigerian Digital Economy.