The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), is working out fresh initiative to assist the various tech hubs in the six geo-political zones of the country with the right regulatory intervention to ease their operations.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC Prof. Umar Danbatta, made this known on Monday in Lagos at a forum on Emerging Technologies Research and ICT Innovation, themed: “Developing Nigeria’s tech eco-system: Imperative for improving local content”, organised by the Commission.
According to the EVC, in its effort at encouraging tech entrepreneurship and innovation in the ICT sector, “the Commission has embarked on visitation to various tech startups across the six geopolitical zones to assess their development and challenges”.
Danbatta who was represented by Yetunde Akinloye, Director of Legal and Regulatory Services, NCC, said that the
“we intend to assist the various tech hubs with the right regulatory intervention to ease their operations. It is a fact that finding local solutions to the challenges of the industry is a key policy of the present administration”.
He added that the forum has become necessary to promote local content with emphasis on the tech ecosystem, identifying unmet needs and facilitate Public Private Partnership (PPP).
According to him, with the growing pressure of globalisation, every government, as well as captains of industries are charged with the burden of finding ways to ensure that we remain competitive and capable of fulfilling local demand.
“We acknowledged that University of Lagos has been one of the prominent tertiary institutions at the forefront of technology innovation, not only in Lagos State but in the country.
“Lagos State in itself has been the ‘Centre of Excellence’ in Nigeria and has the largest concentration of technology hub ecosystem in Africa.”
The executive vice chairman noted that it was imperative that the right framework was developed to enhance the ability of indigenous companies to maximally explore and exploit local opportunities, as well as remain globally competitive.
He said “Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) have developed infrastructure to support voice services and access to data. However, it has become expedient for the MNOs to unlock new services and sources of value generation and revenue streams in their operations”.
“It has become necessary to innovate on how to access segments of the consumer wallets not presently allocated to communication by providing solutions to consumer needs in other vertical areas of education, health, government services, among others, made available through telecommunications network infrastructure”.
“We have to be innovative to make different aspects of our lives work.”
The Director, Research and Development, NCC, Ephraim Nwokonneya, said that the forum was in line with the Strategic Eight Point Agenda of the commission, particularly to promote lCT Innovation and Investment Opportunities.
Nwokonneya said that the tech hubs could be understood as a community, informal or otherwise, that bring together young talents to foster innovation.
He said that tech hubs were spaces or incubators where people with ideas solve problems through clusters and become part of the economic infrastructure of the society and in turn bring prosperity to communities.
According to him, Nigeria’s growing economy needs to leverage on entrepreneurs’ innovations that will help create jobs for the teeming youths.
Nwokonneya said that propelled by a passion to create Nigeria‘s “Silicon WaZoBia”‚ the NCC identified Lagos State as location with a large cluster of tech hubs.
“This forum, therefore, targets participation by a broad spectrum of stakeholders to foster collaboration and value creation partnership among stakeholders”.
“It is common knowledge that the world’s best known tech hub is the Silicon Valley in the United States of America. The world‘s renowned technology entities such as Apple, Facebook, Netflix, Intel, founded by creative young innovators are located in the Silicon Valley.”
“It is also worthy to mention that, besides some level of international donor support enjoyed by some tech hubs, some tech hubs also assessing support from some telecom service providers, as well as financial institutions”.
“This therefore, informed our choice of Lagos State as the preferred location for the maiden edition of the lCT Innovation Forum, meant to attract participating tech hubs in the South West zone”.
‘He added that “responsive government bodies, therefore, need to encourage tech hubs to utilise their immense economic importance in reducing unemployment and stimulating innovations, leading to digital inclusion, social and economic development”.