By Ijeoma Olorunfemi
Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications, has commended the creativity of young innovators in Nigeria, saying that they require mentorship to flourish.
Pantami said this on Sunday at the ongoing 39th Edition of the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) holding in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
GITEX is a global technology exhibition that brings together over 200,000 trade visitors, investors, innovators, countries, IT companies among other participants from over 145 countries of the world to share trends of ICT and ways of advancing technology innovations.
Nigeria’s participation in GITEX, which is spearheaded by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is a week long programme from Oct. 6 to 10.
The minister also said that with mentorship, young innovators can avoid lots of mistakes,invest wisely for Information Communication Technology (ICT) growth in the country.
He emphasised that some of the young innovators just dabble into any Research and Development (R&D) without ascertaining local needs of the people.
” Nigerian youths have crazy creative ideas, which if they have the mentorship needed, mistakes can be avoided, they will save time and cost.
“Research and Development is very critical which these young innovators need to identify areas for research that will help the common man.
“When we do research, we need policy for implementation,”Pantami said.
He also said that young innovators and ICT startups need seed funding to develop their ideas, adding that it is the responsibility of government agencies to support them.
According to him, if the country must develop through home grown technology there is a collaborative need to invest in startups.
He further said that the country had over 200 clusters of citizens with more than 40 million people yet to access internet broadband penetration.
Pantami said that the Federal Government is making every effort to improve on the country’s broadband penetration, which has the capacity to contribute immensely to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He added that there is an ongoing process of automating systems of government for economic growth.
“We are trying to automate e-governance through upgrading National Identity to digital form.
“We have less than 45 million people with digital identification and we need digital penetration to increase the number.
“With digital identification which we hope to increase to 80 per cent by the end of the year, there will be improved economy, citizens can access health care services and life made easier for Nigerians,” Pantami said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 10 ICT startups are in GITEX, to showcase their innovations and also seek investors to develop their products.
Nigeria Postal Service, Nigeria Communication Satellite Limited, Nigeria Petroleum Exchange Commission, Petroleum Equalisation Fund Management Board were some agencies representing the country at GITEX.