Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for what he called diligent committment to ensuring that Nigeria is abreast with the global innovation trends.
The Minister said this on Tuesday at the Nigeria Innovation Summit 2020 organised by Innovation Hub Africa. Pantami who was represented by the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, said that President Buhari invested in digital technology particularly in the fight against COVID-19.
Pantami said the theme of the summit, “Innovating In Critical Times”, is exciting because innovation has become much more critical to the country, especially with the new practices that the pandemic has forced on everyone. He added that the new practices is making innovation to have a profound influence on exit strategy from the pandemic.
Pantami said: ‘In Nigeria, we are lucky to have the right leadership at this time. The government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR has set the foundation to innovate even before COVID-19.
‘On 23rd October 2019, the President renamed and expanded our Ministry’s mandate to cover the digital economy. And on 28th November 2019, the President launched the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for Digital Nigeria, and he us to start implementation immediately.
‘On 19th March 2020, just before the lockdown, the president launched Broadband Plan and unveiled Digital Nigeria initiatives, and flagged off digital skills and literacy trainings. Today, it is obvious we are in a critical time. We are confronted with a crisis like no other, a triple crisis that you and I have not seen in living memory. It is the worst health and economic situation of our generation.’
He added: ‘At the ministry, we blazed the trail in remote working and set the pace for innovation in this country during the pandemic. We conceptualised and implemented groundbreaking initiatives under the lockdown. Here we are today as a ministry coming through the pandemic in a fine style.
‘These initiatives set the foundation that helped us as a country to innovate and navigate our ways from the crisis mode to the recovery stage. At the Ministry and agencies it supervises, we started groundbreaking initiatives that will be game-changer in the innovation ecosystem.
‘We have achieved almost all the objectives. We collaborated with the ecosystem to host the COVID-19 innovation challenge, where innovators were invited to showcase their ideas to manage the pandemic. The winners got prizes and fundings that helped them turned their ideas into impact. We handheld them developed working products and services,’ he added.
Some exciting inventions from the competition are an indigenous ventilator currently to be tested on animal, a smart decontamination chamber, which is an intelligent tunnel that can be used to disinfect a person entering a location, and MyClinic (An online platform that enables users to hold video consultations with qualified medical doctors from anywhere and at any time either using its mobile app or via a toll-free line).