In recognition of the innovative minds of Nigeria’s huge youth population, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has put in-place various ICT youth empowerment initiatives to aid in creating a digitally skilled workforce that will fit into the Digital Economy Project of Nigeria.
The Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Engr. Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, FNSE, FRAES, FAEng, FNIEEE noted this during the Convocation Lecture presented at the 10th and 11th Convocation Ceremony of Fountain University, Osogbo on 13th January, 2022.
At the combined Convocation Lecture, titled: “Empowering the Nigeria Youth Through Information and Communication Technology”, Engr. Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta said, “The World Economic Forum (WEF) projects that about 70% of new value created in the economy over the next decade will be based on digitally enabled platform business models. Therefore, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has thus resolved to pursue vigorously, the comprehensive deployment of broadband infrastructure and attract relevant investments to remain pivotal for the transformation of other sectors of the economy through ICT. Some of the Commission’s initiatives include:
ICT Hubs Support and Engagement
The Forum brings together key players/actors/youths in the Nigerian tech-ecosystem to deliberate and suggest policy frameworks/strategies
that could further develop the sector thereby catalysing improving local content in the ICT/Telecommunication sector. Other objectives of this
- Unleashing the innovative and creative skills of our teeming youths while leveraging on the enormous powers of digital technology;
- Promoting ICT innovation and tech entrepreneurship;
- Building digital skills and capacity necessary to leapfrog Nigerian to the digital economy and the 4th industrial revolution;
- Connecting tech enthusiasts, tech entrepreneurs, ICT
innovators and key stakeholders in the tech-ecosystem for experience sharing, value-creating partnerships, mutually
rewarding collaborations etc.;
- Facilitating local content development in the ICT sector;
- Leveraging on the powers of digital technology to provide
life-changing solutions to societal challenges and create
- Pursuing a strategy to support Mr. President’s next level agenda of moving 100 Million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; and
- Through this forum, databases of technological hubs have been created with a view towards providing supports and enabling environment for these to thrive.
Annual ICT Innovation Competition/Exhibition
This programme is aimed at facilitating sustainable Digital Start-ups development through a platform to showcase their digital innovative solutions. The competition offers Tech enthusiasts and other stakeholders with novel ideas and tech solutions, to industry and societal challenges, to showcase their creative innovations. This is also targeted at the youths of the country.
The Event offers visibility to the participating Start-ups, creates market tractions for their products and services whilst also enabling them to build new business relationships and partnerships with venture
capitalists and angel investors who may have picked interest in their innovations.
In summary, the objectives of the annual Innovation competition and exhibition are to:
- Reduce the challenges of sourcing skilled and trained
personnel to meet the requirements of emerging and new global technologies and modern ICT tools;
- Increase investment in youth and promotion of SME’s for
new business delivery breakthrough;
- Promote Local Content with emphasis on the tech ecosystem; and
- Create an opportunity for start-ups to meet with venture
Amongst other values, the ICT Innovation /Exhibition has helped to encourage continued innovation amongst the young Tech entrepreneurs.
This programme is designed to challenge Start-Ups and Tech Hubs in Nigeria to produce impactful and sustainable innovative solutions that
will address common societal challenges using digital technologies.
- In 2020, under this programme, the Commission awarded N9 Million research grants to three Nigerian start-ups with the most innovative digital solutions for containing pandemics and epidemics in the country in the thematic areas of health, community, productivity, economy and transportation. The Commission is deploying these solutions in some hospitals and schools.
- In 2021, the Commission also awarded under the same programme N5 Million research grants to four Nigerian start-ups in the areas of IoT solutions for kidnapping and banditry in Nigeria and Assistive robotics solutions for effective e-waste management.
ICT Park Project
The Commission is building six Technology Parks across the geo-political zones, and it is in the process of completing the first phase of the project in four of the six geopolitical zones namely; Enugu in the South-East; Abeokuta in the South-West; Maiduguri in the North-East; and Kano in the North-West, with a strategic intent of boosting digital skills among young people, promoting innovations, providing jobs for young Nigerians and ultimately supporting the Federal Government Digital Agenda.
The ICT Park which is at various levels of completion will deliver a fully-functional Tier-4 Digital Industry Complex (DIC) that will involve a commercial hub for ICT capacity building and digital skills, employment creation and entrepreneurial activities, as well as smart city deployment across the country.
National Essay Competition
The Commission also organises a National Essay Competition, targeting all undergraduates in Nigerian Tertiary Institutions (Private & Public), with the following eligibility criteria:
- All participants are expected to register their personal details in the form provided for download on the NCC website, signed by their Deans as genuine Nigerian Undergraduates;
- All Essays will be subjected to plagiarism checks;
- Winners will be invited by the Committee members to defend their essays by way of presentation. Candidates that cannot successfully defend their submissions will be disqualified.
- In 2021, the topic was “5G Technology: “Opportunities and Challenges” and we received over 1,820 submissions from students in about 97 higher institutions from all across the country.
The objectives of this programme are to:
- Engage and enhance research in tertiary institutions;
- Encourage academic competition & excellence; and
- Build capacity of undergraduates in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
Digital Awareness Programme (DAP)
The Digital Awareness Programme (DAP) was launched in 2004 as one
of the Commission’s special intervention projects aimed at creating ICT awareness among secondary schools in Nigeria. DAP was initiated as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project in response to the digital information knowledge gap observed in the country.
The objective of DAP is to encourage the adoption and usage of ICT in public secondary schools across the Country. The facilities provided to secondary schools include desktop computers, tables and chairs, Local Area Network, Printers, Scanners, VSAT equipment, one year bandwidth subscription for high-speed Internet Access and training of selected school personnel. These facilities are complemented with alternative power supply, mostly standby generators and fully built and secured Computer Laboratories with all the necessary accessories. From its inception, this project has been implemented in over 500 secondary schools across the six geo-political zones of the country.
Advanced Digital Appreciation Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI)
To bridge the knowledge skill gap in higher institutions of learning while taking into cognizance both the national and individual gains achieved
in the lives of the beneficiary students and institutions under the DAP project, the Commission strategically developed several intervention capacity building programmes such as the Laptop project, E-pad project, Wireless Internet Cloud, E-Health and Virtual Examination Centre.