NITDA support Tech Community ‘Hack’ COVID-19

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NITDA’s Director-General, Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, says the agency is prepared to give full support to Nigeria’s tech community to allow them to innovate on ways to build a strategy for exit and recovery from this COVID-19 pandemic.
During the opening ceremony of a Hackathon event put together by ‘100 women in ICT’ with the theme: ‘Hack the Crisis in Nigeria’ the DG made the pledge during his speech via Skype.
He said the gesture is aimed at making sure that Nigeria comes out stronger as a nation from the deadly virus.
“Hack the crisis project aims to launch a conceptual solution, ideas, and inventions into products and programs that will not only raise awareness about COVID-19 in multiple languages but will also help avoid and/or flatten the COVID-19 curve in Nigeria through digital innovation,” he said.

He encouraged participants to come up with new ideas that can help the nation control and minimize this pandemic and look at how we can use these ideas in the post-pandemic world to survive and prosper. “We have to solve this problem and we have to do it ourselves. We need to make solutions tailor-made that can work in our country, “he said.

Mallam Inuwa further indicated that the Agency is looking to organize a National Innovation Challenge where it will be able to recognize some innovative ideas, incubate them and ensure that they are implemented in some sectors, especially in the health sector and the digital economy.

He also said he personally sponsored and supported the Hackathon because the theme is fitting, and the comment about the issue is important to what is happening in the world today. He said he was looking forward to a positive outcome from this Hackathon to help minimize the effects of this pandemic.

“NITDA is looking to incubat some innovation to create value and prosperity as we emerge from the crisis in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s determination to diversify our economy and lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty.

“It is also in line with the oversight ministry of the government, the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy’s ‘national digital economy strategy’ which focused on creating digital jobs and using emerging technologies to build value, wealth and prosperity for our young generation. “We are faced with a situation like no other today. Within a short period, the Corona virus, also known as COVID-19, disturbed our social and economic order. The virus causes health crisis while the lockout needed to fight the virus causes economic crises. Everything was usual just a few weeks ago, such as going to work, getting a religious service and socializing with family and friends, is now a big risk, “he said.

The NITDA boss has argued that the virus is dictating and still in charge. It dictates when shutdown, lockdown and relaxation are necessary. “We’ll probably continue this way before there’s a breakthrough in the vaccine but before then life won’t return to normal because people have natural aversion to being exposed to disease.

“The good news is we’ve built a sense of stability from the crisis that’s why we’re thinking here about how to hack the crisis, unlock hidden opportunities and silver lining in the COVID-19 era,” Kashifu said.

He further argued that our exit and recovery strategy from the crisis would build and shape Post COVID-19 environment. We need to unlearn the way we do things in the world pre-COVID-19 and learn the new way to live and succeed in the world post-COVID-19. We need ways to counteract and the virus is contained.

Since contact tracing is known to be the most effective containment measures, he said, then emerging technology would be the most effective tool for that. “ICT had dominated the world economy in Pre-COVID-19.

More than 40 per cent of the world’s one hundred most successful brands are digital companies and the top five on the list. Many companies were going digital but with a certain level of resistance. “In the meantime, the world will be pushed into the fourth Industrial Revolution in the post-pandemic period where everything will be digitalised,” he submitted.

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