By Uchechukwu Nnaike
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and PwC Nigeria recently signed a ground-breaking Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate on strategic initiatives centred on facilitating skills transfer, knowledge and competencies.
The first of its kind collaboration in Africa is aimed at catalysing development and policy dialogues that connect and link the private and public sectors with the start-up ecosystem.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, which was held at PwC’s innovation centre, The Experience Centre, in Lagos, UNDP Nigeria’s Resident Representative,
Mohamed Yahaya, said the collaboration was to ensure innovative solutions to some of the complex development issues facing the continent, using new technology and data.
“We all need digital solutions, we need technology, and we need new ways of getting data to assist in finding a way to spot entrepreneurs and young Nigerians in becoming part of the larger developmental agenda. Signing this agreement today is a testament to the commitment between the two organisations,” Yahaya said.
Explaining the choice of PwC, he added: “At the UNDP, we are the development agency of the UN system. PwC on the other hand has experience in providing professional services to clients. The Experience Centre is a hub, a frontier of new opportunities.”
The Assistant Secretary-General and Head of UNDP Africa, Ahunna Eziakonwa, said the initiative, which is geared towards achieving the shared objectives of both institutions, would develop the culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and employment creation.
Also speaking, the Regional and Country Senior Partner at PwC, Mr. Uyi Akpata, expressed the organisation’s excitement “to collaborate with the UNDP to solve Africa’s important problems and drive the development of the continent through creative thinking and technologically-enabled approaches.
“Further, this strategic collaboration with the UNDP is in line with our refreshed global strategy, The New Equation. We in PwC Africa have six focus areas based on this refreshed strategy. I’m excited to note these focus areas speak directly to achieving the SDGs. Most importantly, one of the focus areas is partnering to achieve international development goals. The UNDP is arguably the best partner in this regard. So, signing this MoU is a giant step that adds up to The New Equation.”
Partner and Technology Leader, West market, PwC, Mr. Femi Osunubi, on his own, described the centre as “the home of disruptive innovation and emerging technologies” as it is a purpose-built space, equipped with interactive digital spaces and a demo lab. He explained that it hosts a cross-functional team of experts who work collaboratively, bringing together the best of business, technology and experience-driven consulting.
“We are excited to be collaborating with UNDP to solve Africa’s important problems and drive the development of the continent through creative thinking and technology enabled approaches,” he said.
PwC’s Experience Centre was launched in 2020 to accelerate the ability to provide digital-centric services to clients, through a combination of business understanding, human insight, and the power of emerging technology. The centre is driven by the mind-set that today’s business models are being disrupted, and that emerging technology has the potential to transform an organisation as technology is critical to help one adapt and innovate.