Oghenevwede Ohwovoriole in Abuja
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami has stated that the best way to address the country’s high unemployment and employability rates was to create digital entrepreneurs who would be employers and wealth creators
He spoke yesterday, at the World Creativity Day celebrated by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) with the theme, “Creativity and Innovation: Powering Collaboration for a Sustainable Digital Economy.”
Speaking on the importance of creativity and innovations he said: “Today in the world, skills are more important than paper qualifications that are empty. It is because of this that higher institutions in some developed countries and even the developing countries; the priority and preference is no more given to your class of degree but the innovative ideas that you will be able to graduate with.
“The approach today is that when a student gets admitted into a higher institution, he would be directed to come up with his start-up within a year. He will be working on this till he graduates with his own company and becomes a potential employer.
“And that is the best way of managing the challenge of unemployment and particularly in Nigeria where we have the challenge of unemployment and employability.”
The minister stated that the Buhari-led administration had discovered that innovation and entrepreneurship were the two prerequisites in developing an indigenous digital economy, adding that no county can develop its digital economy without prioritising digital innovation.
On his part, the Director General, NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi, said in order for NITDA to help the federal government achieve its national digital economy policy, the agency has put in place necessary initiatives and framework towards its actualisation.
“We came up with two major initiatives: The Bridgesmart challenge and Ihash challenge. The Bridgesmart challenge is to develop a framework for innovation challenge in our country. We normally use the framework to challenge our innovative youths to solve a problem in Nigeria. We are targeting security, agric, health, education, and FinTech,” he said.
The NITDA boss stated that most of the start-ups were there to showcase what they had done in collaboration with the agency to solve problems in the economy.
“We have many of them here showcasing what they have done in collaboration with the centre. This is in line with the national policy and strategy for a digital Nigeria. That will help Nigeria create and capture value from innovation.
“Innovation is the wealth of the 21st century economy and it’s only through innovation that we can solve problems, create wealth and prosperity for our country. Therefore, NITDA and the centre are doing what Wis going to transform Nigeria into a leading digital economy,” he emphasised.