The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) says 369 young Nigerian inventors have applied to participate in the 2016 Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) in Dubai, UAE.
Mrs Hadiza Umar, the NITDA’s Head of Corporate Affairs, made this known on Wednesday in an interview with journalists in Abuja.
Umar said that out of the 369 applicants from Nigeria, the first 10 shortlisted by the organisers would be sponsored by the agency for the exhibition in October.
“Application for participation in GITEX 2016 closed on May 19 and we received 369 entries from Nigerians at home and the Diaspora, while the first 10 applicants will go and represent the country at the exhibition.
“All participants were asked to send in the software or hardware created by them, and stating the uniqueness and relevance of such innovations.
“The exhibition is to showcase world class Information and Communication Technology (ICT), innovations of talented young graduates around the world.
“The best GITEX innovator is to get one million dollars, while every participant stands the chance of connecting with major stakeholders in ICT around the world,” she said.
Umar added that the list of shortlisted applicants would soon be compiled and made available to the public.
The NITDA official said applications were received from Nigerians at home and the Diaspora, including Ethiopia, Cameroon, Uganda, Chad, Botswana, UK, Sierra Leone and Ghana.
The application for NITDA sponsorship to the exhibition was opened on May 7 and closed May 19, while the exhibition will take place from Oct. 16 to Oct. 20, in Dubai, UAE.
“For the 2016 GITEX, NITDA has arranged a stand for will be all Nigerian innovators at the exhibition, unlike last year when our 12 young innovators showcased their talent alongside others at Nigerian pavilion.
“One of the NITDA sponsored-participants in 2015 GITEX has already been partnering with international organisation as a result of his unique innovation.
“The agency works round the year to develop Nigerian ICT sector, through sponsorship and organising events that help to add value to participants,” she said.
The image maker said that NITDA played critical role in the development of ICT in Nigeria through various programmes such as scholarship for postgraduate degrees in ICT or related courses and Community Access Centre (CAC).
Other interventions of NITDA in ICT development in the country include Knowledge Access Venue (KAV), Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS), among others.
“We provide one year Masters’ scholarship or PhD scholarship for two outstanding graduates in ICT or related courses from each state of the country with minimum of 2.1 CGP (for Masters).
“ The CAC is the provision of ICT centres by NITDA, for rural communities where access to internet service is a serious challenge.
“We presently have over 400 centres across the six geo-political zones where we provide 15 laptops, internet broadband, inverter, solar power, photocopiers and scanners.
“This is usually done in collaboration with the traditional ruler in the community or local government administrations who provide the space,” she said.
On the KAV, Umar said NITDA had provided over 290 centres at various tertiary institutions in the country, where students could access internet services on the computers provided.
“Our GIS is another deliberate effort of the present administration to bridge the gap of ICT experts in the country and we have started training of 600 graduates in ICT skills yearly.
“NITDA, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance on May 13 in Lagos started the training of 100 graduates from the South-West origin.
“This will be replicated in all the six geo-political zones in the country, which will amount to training of 600 graduates to be self-employed, employers of labour and ICT experts of world class each year.
“The programme includes training at designated centres and internship at relevant organisations where interns can sharpen their skills and become competent.
“They (interns) will also be given stipend during the training and will be issued certificate of competence upon satisfactory completion of the programme,” she said.
However, Umar said that interested applicants can only apply for slots in their state of origin, saying the programme aimed at creating more ICT experts across the geo-political zones.
GITEX is an annual exhibition in Dubai, where ICT inventors, operators and users gather to showcase their inventions and rob minds on latest ICT inventions and products.
ICT presently contributes 11.93 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP) and is also the fastest growing sector.
Dr Vincent Olatunji, the Acting Director General of the agency had said NITDA would be a prime catalyst in transforming the nation into IT driven economy. (NAN)