The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa CCIE, delivered a compelling keynote speech at the 19th edition of the ICTEL Expo organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the theme ”Tech Disruption; Transforming Industries with Innovation”. In his address, he called upon Nigeria’s tech innovators to harness the power of technology as a source of inspiration to disrupt industries and businesses.
Inuwa emphasized that three essential capabilities, namely ubiquitous data, unlimited connectivity, and massive processing power, are now readily available, enabling tech innovators to achieve remarkable feats. He encouraged start-ups to focus on providing innovative solutions to real-world problems rather than being driven solely by financial gains. According to him, innovation is a process from ideation to impact, while invention involves research that may not necessarily be commercialized.
Drawing inspiration from the success story of Flutterwave, a leading FinTech company in Nigeria with a capital base that rivals some commercial banks, Inuwa emphasized that technological solutions could bridge significant gaps in various sectors. He urged tech entrepreneurs to recognize the power of technology to transform their businesses and grow them on a global scale.
He stated that, “so looking at all these and how you can transform it, what we normally encourage startup to do is focus about the solution. It is not about the money. If you have solutions, the money will come. So don’t focus about the money. Don’t follow the money. Follow the solutions. The money will follow you. So, look at what kind of problem you want to solve.”
While encouraging them to think big as they think about the solution they want to provide, the Director General affirmed that with the mindset they have to solve local problem, it can be expanded to solve a global issues. “That is the difference between just normal Small and Medium Enterprises and you. We call you startups because you use the power of technology to build your business and become Innovation-Driven Enterprises, (IDEs). This implies that you start small; how can you solve a local problem but with the mindset of taking it to the global stage. Technology can help you to do that.
You don’t need to have a physical space to do that.
Inuwa disclosed that the startups could leverage on the several initiatives of the government to attain greater height in their exploits.
“We have so many initiatives that can help you to achieve that. When the government formulated the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, (NDEPS) at NITDA, we crafted our Strategic Roadmap Action Plan, (SRAP)with seven strategic pillars that could spur technological innovation development in Nigeria.
Inuwa further encouraged participants to prepare for the future of work, noting that Nigeria’s abundant talent and youthful population position the country to fill the talent deficits witnessed in the aging population of western countries. He emphasized that the government is committed to bridging the skill gap through initiatives like the Digital Literacy Framework and Talent Hunt Strategy.
The event witnessed the presence of prominent figures in the technology and business sectors, including the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, the Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone, members of the Nigerian Communications Commission management board, and executives from the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).