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Knowledge Economy: Ministry, NCC organise Build-A-Thon digital skills programme for Nigerian learners + Photos

An Instructor (middle) Taking Some of the Young Nigerian Learners During the Build-A-Thon Tech Innovation Programme at One of the Locations Photos: Dr. 'Bosun Tijani

*Dr. ’Bosun Tijani, Honourable Minister for Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy says the Build-a-Thon held in Maiduguri, Owerri and Abeokuta respectively, is a technology innovation initiative and programme under ‘Knowledge Pillar’ in the Ministry’s ‘Strategic Plan’, designed to drive a major part of the overall implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy in collaboration with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has organised Build-A-Thon, which is the Ministry’s digital skills training programme for young learners in different parts of the West African country.

ConsumerConnect reports the technology innovation initiative and programme is a core element under ‘Knowledge Pillar’ in the Ministry’s “Strategic Plan”, designed to drive a major part of the overall implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, in Nigeria.

Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and CEO of NCC (l) and Dr. ’Bosun Tijani, Honourable Minister for Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, During the former’s recent visit to the latter’s office in Abuja, FCT

Speaking on the initiative, Dr. ’Bosun Tijani, Honourable Minister for Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, in a blogpost via his verified social media account at the weekend, declared that young Nigerians’ acquisition of the requisite digital skills and training remains a veritable feature of the Ministry’s Strategic Blueprint entitled, “Accelerating Our Collective Prosperity through Technical Efficiency”, which he published October 2023.

Tijani also, who also averred that “knowledge is the bedrock of our strategic blueprint,” explained “over the last 15 years, I have witnessed knowledge and creativity transform lives and societies across Africa in unprecedented ways.”

The Minister stated: “The world isn’t ready for what’s coming from Nigeria in the next 3 years. Enjoy images from Day 2 of our Build-a-Thon happening in Maiduguri (in Borno State), Owerri (in Imo State) and Abeokuta (in Ogun State).”

Earlier during the visit of Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC to intimate the Minister with his leadership activities, vision and strategy at the Commission last year, in Abuja, FCT, Dr. Tijani had affirmed the strategic importance of NCC in activating the Ministry’s Strategic Blueprint.

The Minister stated: “The NCC is a stellar agency, and you have my respect for the work that you do. There is no future for the country without the NCC.

Photo collage of the Build-A-Thon tech innovation programme in sessions across Nigeria

“Already, the quality you have is good; what we need to do now is to tap into this quality to bring about greater value for the country.”

Tijani further assured Maida, noting “I want to assure you that you have the best partner in me. We will work together to achieve the goals and vision we have set.”

No future without communications sector in Nigeria: Tijani

The Minister for Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy during Maida’s visit to his office also restated the utmost importance of telecommunications in supporting the economic diversification efforts of the Federal Government.

“There is no future for Nigeria without the telecommunications sector; that is why we must get it right,” said he.

Thus, in consonance with the Ministry’s overall objective of building Nigeria knowledge economy with tech innovation, it is equally recalled the Nigerian Communications Commission organised and inspired technology innovation talent hunt competition late 2023, in which three companies, out of 81 companies that contested, shared the N30 million prize money equally.

The telecoms sector regulatory Commission had noted the nine other shortlisted companies carted home N500,000 consolation prizes each.

According to the Commission, Solaris GreenTech Hub, Knownow Africa Limited and Specxs Care Limited, came off with flying colours at the 2023 NCC’s Annual Hackathon Competition as adjudged by an independent Panel of Judges, chaired by the President of Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Prof. Mohammed Ajiya.

Another photo collage of young Nigerian learners at the Build-A-Thon programme

Commenting on the tech innovation initiatives and programmes for both technopreneurs and young Nigerian learners during the talent hunt competition last year, Dr. Aminu Maida, Executive Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (EVC/CEO) of NCC, in his Keynote Address, said the technology innovation talent hunt competition aligned perfectly with one of the core objectives embedded within the new Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) of the Commission for the years 2023-2025.

The EVC/CEO of the Commission, represented at the event by Ismail Adedigba, Director of Research and Development at NCC, further explained “the SVP underscores fostering the development of cutting-edge technologies through rigorous research to catalyse sustainable economic growth and overall development within Nigeria.”

Last year’s technology innovation talent hunt competition focused on three pivotal thematic areas that not only pertained to Nigeria but also resonated with global concerns, stated Maida.

The themes, the NCC Chief said, are:  Blockchain-enabled Data Protection Solutions for Enhancing Regulatory Compliance; Assistive Technology Solutions for the Elderly and People with Disabilities; and Technology Solutions for Renewable Energy in Rural Areas.

We’re committed to nurturing ideas, innovations ─Dr. Maida

Dr. Maida as well explained the Talent Hunt Research through Hackathon is just the inception of the Commission’s unwavering commitment to nurturing innovation and nascent ideas, the way it has been doing for previous winning innovative solutions and ideas that had emerged through the annual hackathon, stated the Commission.

The EVC/CEO of NCC said: “The culmination of this competition is not confined to the grand prize of N10 million awarded to each winner from these three thematic areas for the development of their solutions, but goes beyond this, as the Commission takes a holistic approach to support these promising innovations.

“We closely monitor the progress of these solutions as they evolve into full-fledged prototypes.”

According to him, in a world where innovation is paramount, NCC often witnesses the remarkable potential of Hackathons to showcase fresh perspectives on existing challenges.

The NCC Chief stressed the Commission’s annual Hackathon competition serves as instrumental tools in sustaining innovation and mobilising the collective intelligence of the innovators to tackle pressing real-world issues, both in the business realm and within the social fabric in Nigeria.

Likewise, in his presentation on the occasion of the 13th Annual Nigeria ICT Impact CEO Forum/Africa Digital Awards, in Lagos, the EVC/CEO also disclosed the telecoms regulatory Commission’s focus in the next four years and beyond under the current administration.

He said this “aligns strictly with the vision for the digital economy, as envisioned in the Strategic Plan of the Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani.”

Maida restated the Strategic Blueprint, which Dr. Tijani unveiled October 2023, has five pillars and prioritises deployment of Broadband infrastructure and digital empowerment of three million (3MTT) Nigerian youths, among others.

He noted one of the five pillars of the Strategic Blueprint is the “Infrastructure” component, which focuses on Broadband accessibility, availability and affordability.

Other pillars of the Ministerial strategic plan are Knowledge; Policy; Innovation/Entrepreneurship and Capital; and Trade.

The NCC’s initiatives and programmes as well as vision and priorities under his leadership “align with Nigeria’s overall objectives and the Honourable Minister’s Strategic Plan for the Ministry, particularly on expanding Broadband connectivity, in harmony with the global transition to 5G and future 6G technologies, as well as improving Quality of Experience, and providing equitable access to all Nigerians,” said Maida.

The Strategic Plan, he stated, is designed to drive a major part of the overall implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Tinubu.

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