Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami on Thursday outlined the benefits the country will get from the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre, saying it was another giant leap towards the development of Nigeria’s digital economy and diversification of the country’s economy.
Speaking at the Ground breaking ceremony of the Centre in Abuja, Pantami said “The Centre will be based on the ‘live, work and learn’ concept. The activities of the centre align with 6 out of the 8 pillars of our National Digital Economy Policy for a Digital Nigeria. These include Pillar *2 (Digital Skills), Pillar *4 (Service Infrastructure), Pillar *5 (Digital Services Development and Promotion), Pillar *6 (Soft Infrastructure), Pillar *7 (Digital Society and Emerging Technologies), and Pillar *8 (Indigenous Content Development and Adoption).
“We are also developing National Policy on Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which this Centre and many other centres all over the country will implement,” pantami said.
He noted that the National Digital Economy Policy appreciated the importance of identifying and supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and it also focuses on encouraging many of the SMEs to go a step further by aiming to become Innovation Driven Enterprises (IDEs).
“The IDE-concept has been promoted by leading institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and these enterprises, no doubt, have great advantages. In contrasting IDEs and MSMEs we find that IDEs tend to have a global outlook while SMEs tend to start small and choose to remain local,” he said.
He pointed out that centre will adopt MIT’s proven frameworks on accelerating innovation to create localized strategies for developing and sustaining enterprises driven by innovation. That same IDE-approach will be utilized in this Centre.
According to him, the Centre will enable Nigerians to acquire cutting-edge technological skills; enable Nigerians to participate in the development of hardware, software, and emerging technologies; create an innovative ecosystem; create a unique platform for technical skills (programming), soft skills (social interaction), entrepreneurship (starting and operating a business) to focus on the promotion and development of ICT, including smart energy solutions to drive ICT;
Others are, nurture new ideas and develop an inquisitive perspective to support in the creation of employers of labour and support in the promotion and development of ICTs, including aspects of advanced applied research; allow start-ups to accelerate and experience innovations at scale, through customized visits, design thinking sessions and co-innovation workshops to create a highly collaborative and immersive environment.
Facilities at the centre include, Co-Working Space (Hacker space /Maker space); Business Research and Innovation Space; Information Technology (IT) Museum; Demo Laboratories (Idea and Discovery Hall); Media Studio; R&D Hi-tech showrooms; Smart Data Centre; Network Operation Centre (NOC); Computer Emergency Readiness and Response Centre (CERRT); Conference Rooms; Storage area/Archives; Auditorium (250-Seater) Smart Automation; Pent House; Sick Bay; Sporting Facilities – Snooker, Gym, Table Tennis.
The minister added that “The Centre will be equipped with modern, state-of-the-art facilities that promised to be minimal, modern, functional and comfortable for the use of stakeholders. This is yet another giant stride of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration towards the realisation of the vision of transforming Nigeria into a leading digital economy, providing quality life and digital economies for all, as outlined in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS).”